Press Releases week beginning 15 February 2016
Bishops from Sierra Leone Visit Twin Town in England
Bishops responsible for the two Anglican dioceses in Sierra Leone, have visited Hastings, Sussex.
Knowing of the impact of our twinning activities with our namesake town of Hastings in Sierra Leone the bishops of the two Anglican Dioceses in the west African country particularly asked to visit Hastings, Sussex, whilst they were in the country as guests of churches in the UK.
The Rt. Revd Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Freetown, whose diocese covers Hastings, Sierra Leone, and the Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Tucker, Bishop of Bo met the Mayor and members of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link in the Mayor's Parlour at Hastings town hall on Tuesday (February 9th ).
The Bishops were breaking their journey from Canterbury, where they have been on a course, to Chichester by calling in at Hastings. Chichester Diocese is closely linked to the Anglican churches in Sierra Leone and West Africa generally.
"These partnerships are tremendously valuable as our communities learn about each other' said Bishop Tucker. Bishop Wilson particularly emphasised the importance of our partnerships in health and education as keys to sustainable futures for the next generation.
After leaving the town hall, the two bishops spent time with the staff and pupils of Christ Church Church of England Primary School in St Leonards. Christ Church is one of 11 local schools that have been partnered with schools in the Hastings area of Sierra Leone since 2010.
At Christ Church School the visitors met members of staff who had been to Sierra Leone on the Link's teacher exchange programme. They also met members of the International Pupil Council which involves pupils in their learning about growing up in other cultures and circumstances.
Roger Mitchell, of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, said :- "The Bishops' visit represented a unique opportunity for them to share something of the rich and diverse contexts from which they come and within which they seek to serve God and neighbour. The recent Ebola epidemic has left a deep mark on our guests at the personal level and upon the church communities they serve and lead. We have much to learn from our guests but also much to offer them from our own context.
"Four members of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link will shortly be flying out to visit our partner community during the second half of February. Their particular purpose is to encourage the staff of the Health Centre in Hastings Village and of our partner schools as they work to overcome the disruption and personal tragedies resulting from the Ebola epidemic. They look looking forward to meeting Bishops Tucker and Wilson again on their home territory."
The Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Bruce Dowling, added :- "I was very pleased to welcome Bishop Thomas and Bishop Emmanuel here. We are very proud of our link with Hastings Sierra Leone, and visits like this help cement our friendship."
Miniature Railway Back On Track in Hastings' Alexandra Park
The miniature railway in Alexandra Park, Hastings, was reopened on Saturday 13th February by Cllr Warren Davies, lead member for the environment, and Cllr Bruce Dowling, the Mayor of Hastings.
The railway was originally opened in 1980, with a second loop built in the late 1980s. Originally mixed gauge (3 ½", 5", and 7 ¼"), the line was operated on an occasional basis by local model engineers, but their use stopped early last year, and the track and buildings fell into disrepair.
The operation was taken over late in 2015 by Dan Radcliffe, who runs Hastings Miniature Railway on the town's seafront. He has completely overhauled the line, re-ballasting and relaying the track, to 7 ¼" gauge. The double loop layout remains, complete with tunnel. The line now operates petrol and battery electric locos, and is open weekends through the year, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during school holidays, and Bank Holiday Mondays.
The first train to operate on the line's reopening, a VIP special conveying Cllr Davies, the Mayor and other guests, was pulled by an 0-6-0 petrol loco built by RVM Engineering, Dan Radcliffe's own company.
Cllr Warren Davies said :- "I was very pleased indeed to be able to re-open this railway. Alexandra Park is a real jewel in the town's crown, and the railway will attract even more visitors to it, which is wonderful. We had received complaints from concerned residents when the railway fell into disrepair last year, and it is great that Dan has been able to add this operation to his one on the seafront."
The Mayor, Cllr Bruce Dowling, added :- "I used to be the park supervisor in the 1980s, and remember the line being built. I had been saddened when the operation stopped last year, and was honoured to be asked to cut the ribbon on Saturday to re-open the railway, and then travel on the first train.