Press Releases: week beginning 27 January 2014
Holocaust Memorial Day 2014: Hastings remembers
More than 200 people packed into St Mary in the Castle on Saturday, 25 January for the town's annual Holocaust Memorial Day service.
Organiser Brian Linke said:
"I was very pleased with the event, it was very well attended and we had some excellent speakers on this year's theme of 'Journeys'.
"We were honoured that his Excellency Mr Witold Sobków, the Polish ambassador, accepted our invitation to attend. He gave a very thoughtful speech on Polish individuals who had made some incredible journeys, and made some incredible sacrifices too, to help those caught in the terrible events of the Second World War. He also reminded us of the large number of Polish residents who have been recognised for saving Jews from extermination during the Holocaust.
"Other speakers too told us of their journeys, including David Hibbs, a member of the Bruderhof Community based just a few miles away in Robertsbridge. One of their members, who was also in the audience, was forced out of Germany by the Nazis when he was just ten days old.
"Stella Harris told us of local residents rescued from Scandinavia by English fishing boats and we also heard from a young student, Georgina Browning, who visited a concentration camp just last year, and which had a profound effect on her.
"Amber Rudd MP gave a moving reading of Martin Niemöller poem 'First They Came'.
"It was a very thought-provoking service, and showed yet again how we must all work together to stop these atrocities from happening.
"I am very grateful to all those who helped in the organisation of the event, including Opera South East who sang for us."
The service was supported by Hastings Borough Council, and attended by the Mayor, Cllr Alan Roberts and council leader Cllr Jeremy Birch, who said:
"It was another very moving service, and I am very grateful to Brian Linke, the Rev Chris Sears and their small team who worked so hard to organise it.
"I was especially pleased to be able to welcome the Polish ambassador, who chose to come and commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day here with us in Hastings, on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising by the Polish resistance.
"This is very much a community event, and every year I learn more about the sacrifices made by local people, and their families, in the struggle for freedom and against oppression."
Fishy business in Parliament
An exhibition featuring Hastings' fishing families has opened in the House of Commons.
Hastings photographer John Cole, took a series of photos of local fishing families, called 'Generations' and the first pictures, which were exhibited in Stade Hall last year, have now gone on display in the upper waiting hall of the House of Commons.
Paul Joy, chair of the Hastings Fishermen's Protection Society, said:
"It was just great to see these photos of the local fishermen and their families on display in the houses of parliament. Some of us can trace our families back, on the beach, nearly 1000 years, and it was fitting that this heritage and culture was on display in such a historic setting.
"I would like to thank Amber Rudd our MP for helping to make this happen - she has been absolutely brilliant, we couldn't have done this without her."
Cllr Peter Chowney, deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council and chair of the Hastings 'FLAG' (Fisheries Local Action Group) attended the opening of the exhibition. He said:
"I am very pleased that the local FLAG was able to support this exhibition. It's in a busy thoroughfare in the Commons, and will certainly help raise the profile of our fishing industry, which has helped make Hastings the place it is today.
"We are very proud of our fishing heritage, and I was pleased to see so many local fishermen in the Commons today. There was tremendous interest in the exhibition, even the policeman on the outer security gate was enthusiastic about it."
Council Leader urges response to train service plans
Council Leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch, who initiated a campaign to save one of the town's most important trains, is urging rail users and the business community to make sure their voice is heard by the train operating company and the Department for Transport as soon as possible as the consultation formally closes on 07 February.
Currently the 06.39 from Ore runs to Cannon Street, in the centre of the city, but local train operating company southeastern plan to divert the train to run to Charing Cross from December.
Cllr Birch said:
"It is vital that our voice is heard. We recently campaigned to keep our direct Cannon Street services, and are keen to keep up the pressure on retaining the existing level of service. Unless we can make our voice heard, we stand to lose the busiest Cannon Street train of the day because of the London Bridge rebuilding works.
"Council officers were the first to spot the change and I knew we had to take up the campaign. As I said when I launched it a very significant number of passengers from the Hastings line - not just Hastings itself - use Cannon Street, and these commuters, who live in our hinterland, also spend money here. We are the most deprived town in the southeast, and the second most deprived seaside resort in the country, and we cannot afford to lose higher-earning commuters to other routes, which is our fear if our city service were to worsen. These highly mobile commuters will move elsewhere if they cannot get the service they want from their local station.
"The direct link to the city is absolutely vital for us, and for the other communities in East Sussex served by the Hastings line.
"I have been very pleased at the response, and publicity, that our campaign has been receiving, but we now need a final push before the consultation closes on Friday, 07 February. I would urge rail users and the local business community to write to both southeastern, and the Department for Transport to Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, and to John MacQuarrie, the department's lead negotiator."
Footpath washed away at Country Park
Recent wet weather has caused a major landslip at Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve causing the closure of a footpath. The footpath which runs from the East Hill along the top of Ecclesbourne Glen is a popular route with walkers but is now impassable.
Hastings Borough Council has moved quickly to protect the public by fencing off the footpath and erecting signs explaining what has happened. The footpath is a Public Right of Way and therefore the responsibility of East Sussex Country Council (ESCC). The ESCC Rights of Way team have told the council the footpath will remain closed until they have had the opportunity to fully assess the damage and how they will reinstate it. Meanwhile, the council is encouraging walkers to find alternative routes and not to try and walk on the closed path.
Cllr Emily Westley lead member for leisure and amenities said:
"The continuing wet weather has caused a large mud slide at Ecclesbourne Glen making the footpath dangerous. This landslip comes a short time after a large area of the cliffs fell into the sea at Rock-a-Nore.
"We are asking all walkers to find other footpaths for their walks at the Country Park and not to risk trying to walk this footpath. The council has put up barriers and signs but we are aware some people are ignoring the barriers and as such are putting themselves in danger.
"We are working with the County Council to reinstate the path as quickly as possible but we will need to wait for drier weather."
Hastings - a great place to live and work!
Hastings is the ninth best place to live and work - so says Yahoo Finance. They have worked that out by looking at all the different statistics in the new Centre for Cities report into the?64 largest towns and cities in the UK.
In the report cities and towns were evaluated on everything from life satisfaction, inequality, carbon dioxide emissions, house price growth, education, jobs, patents, businesses, population growth and even broadband speed.
Hastings features in this report with encouraging results.
Council leader, Cllr Jeremy Birch explained:
"According to the most recent figures available our historic town is the greenest town in the UK, producing less carbon dioxide per person than anywhere else studied. This is excellent news for our residents and visitors and demonstrates that we have a really good carbon footprint.
"We have also ranked in the top 10 for the number of patents per 100,000 residents. Patent data is widely used to measure innovation so being in the top 10 in the UK shows that the vacuum cluster is obviously having a very positive impact on our town."
The report also looks at population flow into and out of London. It shows how nearly everywhere is exporting people to London as the capital enjoys faster economic growth, but Hastings is one of only five places where there is a net inflow of people from London.
All this shows that famously, Hastings is a great place to live, work and invest.