Busy, busy mayor


It has been a busy end to August with lots going on in the town, not least the buzz of the jazz festival, which was enjoyed by a large number of residents and visitors to Rye. With a number of free to hear gigs around the town, I hope the footfall also benefitted our shops and restaurants.

We saw the celebration, in times of adversity, of Ukraine’s independence day: firstly with the raising of its flag on the town hall on August 23, with a wonderful cry from our town crier; and secondly with an event at the Rye Community Centre organised by Niki and Andy Stuart, with delicious Ukrainian food and music. Well done for such a lovely afternoon, enjoyed by the many hosts and their Ukrainian guests.

With a number of council colleagues, I visited the Tilling Green Community Centre site with Action in Rural Sussex to discuss options to provide social housing stock on the former school paying field, in order to allow more local families to stay put in Rye and be able to rent at sensible prices. As a town council we are strongly committed to driving forward a scheme to help local people stay in our town.

Rebekah and I had the great privilege of being invited to the Hythe Venetian fete on Wednesday, August 17. A raft conveys all the Cinque Port mayors along the Military Canal, through the centre of Hythe, to start the parade of rafts carefully crafted by over 20 organisations. The parade is repeated at dusk with just fairy lights to illuminate them, and we all enjoyed a marvellous time, including seeing all the mayors in their full regalia dancing in the interval having been absolutely soaked as we arrived. As the mayor of Hythe and speaker of the Cinque Ports said, it was some kind of survivors’ euphoria that we’d survived the deluge and so had our apparel! We continue to work closely with the speaker on reforms to the Confederation of Cinque Ports to make it more relevant to our times and our towns.

Talking of deluges, we seem to have had a fair number of ships into the Port of Rye recently, and I greatly enjoy working alongside our harbour master as his port controller. He and the team are highly skilled at piloting in these large vessels at all hours of the day and night.

I was also delighted to perform with the Sounds of Rock-a-Nore shanty group at Hastings composer Polo Piatti’s event on August 20. It was a delightful afternoon of music performed by outstanding young musicians, as well as four old boys, including myself, singing Polo’s arrangement of music. I think we were only included as the theme was novelty! I was also singing with Rye Bay Crew at Charles Palmer vineyards on August 28 and we are back at the Waterworks on Wednesday, September 7 – possibly with some new music to try out.

There are a busy few weeks ahead as well, not least the culmination of the sea festival and raft race on the Salts on Sunday, September 11. There is still time to enter a raft or tug of war team, you do not have to be a business or group, just a collection of folks who want to have a laugh on the day. We will also be having a dog show at 11am, plus Pugwash readings with the fabulous Isabel Ryan and our town crier, plus music from local groups. On Saturday, September 3, I will be attending the flower and produce show at the Rye Community Centre and the It’s a ChaRYEity Knockout competition at the Rugby Club grounds in aid of Rye Hospital. Rye Bay Crew will also be performing at the well established Last Night of the Proms at Rye College in aid of the Wurlitzer Academy on Friday, September 9. We hope to see some of you there joining in with the music and continuing to support Rebekah’s mayoral charity for young people.

Image Credits: Rebekah Gilbert .

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