Service brings its reward

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The mayor presents Anne Wood with the scroll confirming her as a freeman of Rye

The meeting of Rye Town Council was unusually crowded last Monday, July 8. There was standing room only in the public area which demonstrated the popularity of the first item on the agenda – to appoint Aagot Anne Wood to be a Freeman of Rye.

Known to all as Anne (her first name, Aagot, being an indication of her Scandinavian heritage) she was proposed by deputy mayor Cllr Rebekah Gilbert who outlined many of her qualities: a churchwarden for a total of 13 years, her voluntary work visiting the sick and driving the elderly to doctor’s appointments, welcoming newcomers with advice on the town and, perhaps as important, her famous lemon drizzle cake, being a governor of Thomas Peacocke school and great supporter of the Wurlitzer Academy.

Mayor, deputy Mayor and councillors look on as Anne makes her speech

As if this was not enough, she has somehow found time to be a committee member of the Rye Arts Festival, a volunteer at Lamb House and a long-time Friend of Rye Art Gallery together with many other small services to those coming into her orbit.

That this was a popular appointment was evident not only by the number coming to witness the event but also by the comments posted to our earlier announcement of her freemanship in Rye News.

Unsurprisingly, the motion to admit her to an Honorary Freeman of the Town was, when put to the vote of councillors, carried unanimously.

Having finished with this part of the meeting, the public seats emptied leaving just one, your reporter, to listen to largely-mundane agenda items.

College planning decision

During a meeting of the planning committee, however, one item stood out and this was an application from Rye College to install lights on six-metre-high poles in the staff car park.

The initial reaction of one councillor was “too many, too high” and others expressed concern about light pollution and the negative effect on local residents. There were other forms of car-park lighting that would do the job with less effect on the surrounding area.

It was considered that one reason for lighting the car park was to possibly facilitate its use outside school hours as a car park for users of the proposed MUGA on the playing field behind the school buildings. It was at this point that Cllr Kirkham offered the advice that the committee should not be too negative and potentially discourage people using the MUGA for healthy exercise.

When put to the vote, the majority decision was to recommend rejection of the application.

Image Credits: John Minter.

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