Call for helpers to clean church after repairs

Repairs to floor tiles in Fittleworth parish church, which has been closed since October 21, have progressed steadily and should be finished by December 16 at the latest.

Over the following week, cleaning will be needed to make the church ready for Christmas and volunteers are asked to go along armed with dustpans, brushes, dusters and polish. Any change of schedule will be announced in church.

Volunteers will also be needed on Friday, December 21 at 10.30am to help decorate the church for Christmas. Holly and other greenery would be very welcome and coffee will be provided.

Church services at Fittleworth and Stopham leading up to Christmas include:

St Mary’s, Fittleworth – Tuesday, December 18, school carol service 2pm; Sunday, December 4, carol service at 6pm followed by mince pies and mulled wine; Christmas Eve, Christingle and crib service at 3pm, midnight mass beginning 11.30pm.

St Mary’s, Stopham – Sunday, December 23, Christingle and crib Service, 4pm; Christmas Day, lessons and carols, 11.15am.

Fittleworth Evangelical Church – Monday, December 10, Olive Tree Group, carols and cake afternoon, 2.30pm; Christmas Eve, carols by candlelight, 6pm; Sunday, December 30, Fittleworth Praise (united service with parish church) 4pm, followed by refreshments.

n The Friends of St Mary’s Church, Fittleworth was formed in 2002 to help maintain the building for future generations by staging fundraising events. In October an illustrated talk on Elgar and his home at nearby Brinkwells was a great success, raising more than 1,300 towards floor repairs.

More events are planned next year, including a talk on Sussex Folklore based on the writings of Charlotte Latham, wife of the Rector of Fittleworth in the 1800s. There will also be a barn dance in the village hall. Membership of The Friends is 8, 12 for a couple.

Another fundraiser is a booklet written by former resident Judy Sayers, describing some of the old village trades and crafts. It costs 5 – contact Mrs C Selby on 01798 865802 or email to become a member or buy the booklet.

n A great deal of money has been spent on repairs and improvements to the village hall. A monthly lottery was started in 2003 to help finance the refurbishment which was completed in 2005. In that time nearly 12,000 was raised, half of which was paid out in prizes and half given to the hall committee.

Participation has fallen to 35 members with monthly contributions of only 65 to the hall. The lottery will end after December and a new 100 Club will start. Friends of the village hall will be able to buy a number, costing 5 per month for the next 12 months.

The numbers, limited to a maximum 100, will be entered in a monthly draw with a top prize of 125, reducing to a 10 fourth prize. If all numbers are sold this will guarantee income of 3,000 a year for the hall and monthly payouts of 250. The first draw should be possible in late February.

Chairman Mike Elliott can be contacted on 01798 865472, by letter to Murray House, Bedham Lane, Fittleworth RH20 1JH, or email .

n Ruth Gillespy’s shoebox collection for Romania has ended and appears to have been a record this year thanks to all who gave unstintingly. Her next task is to collect contributions of scones, cakes, sausage rolls and mince pies for Christmas tea at the Christchurch shelter in Chichester. She will collect any contributions on Sunday, December 23 if contacted on 01798 865547.

n Appeal co-ordinator Penelope Boam thanks everyone who contributed to a record collection of almost 1,500 in the Fittleworth Poppy Appeal.

The final total is not known as one collecting box is still outstanding – 300 was raised in the church collection on Remembrance Sunday.

n Ex-members of the former Fittleworth Women’s Institute are invited to coffee and mince pies at Vivien Benham’s home, 5 The Gardens, Fittleworth on Tuesday, December 11 at 10.30am.

n The Bowls Club’s Christmas sale will be held in the Social Club on Saturday, December 8, 10am-noon.

Stalls will include cakes, books, puzzles, gifts, good-as-new, a raffle and tombola. Former club captain Norman Pennells, who died in November aged 85, will be greatly missed for his tremendous enthusiasm at these events.