Mayoral update

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It has been a mixed time as mayor this past fortnight.

We welcomed back the sea festival in its new guise of Festival of the Sea and Land, held at the Rugby Club on Sunday, September 10. A huge well done to fellow councillor, Sophie Crouch, and to Fran Clent from Rye Hospital, for the multitude of hours spent organising it this year. We helped to set up tents on the Saturday evening, and pack them back up after the event. It was a great success and many teams joined in the fun of the games and challenges. Well done and thank you to all who took part. I trust you raised some goodly funds for the hospital. I hope that, in the fullness of time we will be able to do the raft race again, but the astronomical costs of insurance, security, first aid and grounds hire, mean that much is agin’ us before we even start.

We visited Faversham for their annual Hop Festival on September 2 (and I know you are saying the last time you went there was for a tour of the Shepherd Neame brewery, must be a beer attraction!). We were grateful to the town’s mayor for inviting us there to enjoy such a splendid day of music and celebrating the hop, which made this town so famous. The weather was delightful, and it was good to catch up with fellow Cinque Ports mayors.

Sadly, we said goodbye to one of Rye’s well known characters, Derek ‘longun’, at his service on Tuesday, September 12 at the Baptist church. Many of us knew him, and it was super to see it was standing room only at the service. A wonderful service led by Christopher Breeds. I enjoyed many a pint with Derek putting the world to rights of an evening and he will be much missed.

We have had some musical notes this week. We have sung shanties at the Charles Palmer Vineyard on August 27, to a very large crowd of folk who also enjoyed the wine and food served in such a delightful setting. The following day, Rebekah and I were at the New Inn, Winchelsea, for a night of swing music – the songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald – and it is always a pleasure to see David Merrifield and his wife Sandra there, mayor and mayoress of the town.

On September 8 we sang with the mighty Wurlitzer at Rye College for the annual last night of the proms event, that we have been attending for many years now. It was lovely to see around 120 people in the audience, joining in and being patriotic. Thank you to Sally-Ann Hart MP for coming along to support the evening – all funds raised go to Rebekah’s former mayoral charity of the Wurlitzer Academy, to support young people to not only learn this incredibly difficult instrument, but all the skills of team work, time keeping, practice and dedication, presentation, and self confidence, that come from music.

A big thank you as always to Richard Moore for organising it, and to the incredibly talented Michael Wooldridge for performing. It was lovely to have former mayor, Jonathan Breeds, back singing with us again (whose big birthday we enjoyed greatly that weekend!)

Image Credits: Rebekah Gilbert , Isabel Ryan .

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