Press Releases week beginning 27 April 2015
Town gets ready for bells and bikes invasion
Hastings is preparing itself for its annual invasion of Morris dancers, as the annual 'Jack in the Green' festivities will be held over the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend from Saturday, 02 May to Monday, 05 May and on Monday these will be joined by tens of thousands of motorcyclists.
Chair of the Jack in the Green organising committee Keith Leech MBE - who received his award for his community work - explained:
"The 'Jack in the Green' is a man in a cage covered in leaves, and he dances and cavorts around the picturesque Old Town of Hastings on the May Day bank holiday Monday, 04 May. This is followed by a colourful procession of Morris dancers, giants and people dressed in spring time fancy dress.
"The streets will be thronged with Morris dancers, giants and colourful characters over the weekend as Hastings once again celebrates this now internationally famous annual May Day custom.
"The procession will move around the Old Town between 10am and 12noon, starting at the Fisherman's museum in Rock-a-Nore Road, then go up All Saints Street and down High Street before going up a leafy lane (Croft Road) to the West Hill for the afternoon. Later in the afternoon leaves are distributed to onlookers for good luck."Also on the Bank Holiday Monday, up to 40,000 motorbikes are expected in town for the traditional May Day run to the coast, an event which has grown into one of the biggest motorcycle events in the country.
Kevin Boorman, head of communications and marketing at Hastings Borough Council, which supports both events, added:
"Hastings is rightly famous for its events, and the May Day weekend is just brilliant. Jack in the Green shows Hastings at its very best, all thanks to Keith and his committee of volunteers, who work hard all year long to put the weekend on.
"It's great to see the town packed full of Morris dancers and, on the Bank Holiday Monday, up to 40,000 bikes and bikers too! The mix of bells and bikes is brilliant, and really does put us on the map - not many resorts can boast streets full of Morris dancers and massive motorbikes, and certainly not at the same time!"
Rye Station improved by Community Rail Partnership
The approach to Rye station, in East Sussex, has been improved by the Sussex Community Rail Partnership (CRP).
The John Ryan Memorial Garden was officially opened by Priscilla and Isabel Ryan, with the Mayor of Rye Cllr Bernadine Fiddimore on Friday, 24 April. The land, outside the station in Rye, was given to the CRP by station operators Southern Railway to see if anything could be done to improve the area involving the local community.
Kevin Barry, the local Community Rail Development Officer for the Marshlink Line, who is based at Rye Station, said:
"I contacted our station partners, Rye Studio, The Creative School and Friary Gardeners to see what could be done but before they could do anything we needed to clear the site and Network Rail visited Rye in November last year and brought 24 volunteers to do the job. They completely transformed the area, stripping the overgrown area right back to the ground.
"The Friary Gardeners, a scheme which offers greater independence to disabled people through gardening, then provided the plants/trees and shrubs, so the Rye Studio and Creative School now have a small performance area. But we all felt it was a good opportunity to dedicate the garden to someone who was admired and well known in Rye.
"John Ryan, author and artist of Captain Pugwash lived here. So, with the blessing of Priscilla, his widow, and Isabel, his daughter, we are using the garden to remember him, one of Rye's best-loved residents."
Kevin Boorman, chair of the Marshlink line CRP, added:
"This has been a great project, and we are really grateful for all the support we have had. This includes Network Rail for their volunteers' help in clearing the site, our local partners for their help in landscaping it, Cllr Bernadine Fiddimore, the mayor of Rye, for donating the saplings, and Southern Railway, East Sussex County Council and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships for helping to fund it.
"I am especially grateful to Kevin Barry, our local community rail development officer, for all of his hard work in managing this project, creating this lovely memorial garden outside Rye station from a piece of wasteland.
"The official opening was a really lovely affair, with not only Priscilla and Isabel Ryan there, the Mayor of Rye, and the Sussex CRP board, but also some of the Friary gardeners, and local schoolchildren, and even members of the Pugwash nursery, attached to Rye college. We also had students playing the Captain Pugwash theme tune, which really brought back childhood memories for some of us!
"It was a wonderful event, which really put the community into rail partnership."
Council replaces dog waste bins for larger combined bins
Hastings Borough Council is currently changing the way litter and dog waste is collected in the town's parks and open spaces.
A change in the collection service means that the council no longer needs to collect dog waste separately from general litter.
A council spokesperson explained:
"As we can now collect both litter and dog waste together we will be replacing all the old small, red dog bins with new larger combined bins. The new bins will hold more waste so should not get overfilled as they sometimes do now and they will look more in keeping with our parks and open spaces. On sites where only dog bins are currently present, new joint waste bins will be installed allowing for more waste to be collected.
"Work has already started to remove some of the existing dog bins and all changes will be completed by July 2015."
If you would like to know more about the changes to Litter and Dog waste collection in Hastings' Parks and Gardens please call 01424 451066 and ask for Parks and Gardens.
Hastings and Rye Constituency Parliamentary Election ballot papers stolen
We have been informed that a van was stolen overnight (Tuesday/Wednesday) which contained the polling station ballot papers for the Hastings and Rye constituency - around 72,300 ballot papers.
We have been in touch with the Electoral Commission and following their guidance, we have put a process into place which will ensure that these ballot papers are not used for fraudulent purposes and cannot be included in the count.
We have also made arrangements for delivery of further ballot papers.
The Metropolitan Police have advised us that there is nothing to suggest that the van was stolen because there were ballot papers inside; it seems that it was a coincidence that the stolen van contained ballot papers.