Category: Uncategorized

June 7th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE town library in West Street will be holding a Dads Rhyme Time for under-fives next Saturday, 14 June, from 11am until 11.30am.

No need to book and it is free.

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May 30th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline
Stuart Scholes CEO of the

Stuart Scholes, CEO of the EGBA (East Grinstead Business Association)

MUG Shot is our lighthearted look at some of the people who live and work in our lovely town.

So if you find yourself posing with one of our exclusive mugs, and being asked some impertinent questions, just think of East Grinstead and do the decent thing…

This week we meet Stuart Scholes, Chief Executive of  the EGBA (East Grinstead Business Association)

Favourite meal?

I like virtually all food but if I have to choose it would be cold dressed crab.

How good a cook are you?

I like cooking and do quite a lot but you would have to ask others how good I am. People say I’m a good cook but they are probably being kind.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Not tell anybody. Fund anonymously some good causes I am interested in.

Favourite film and book, and why?

The Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis – well filmed and gripping right from the start.

Berlin Noir by Philip Kerr – great story against a fascinating historical background.

What ambition did you have as a child?

To live in a hot country.

What is the oldest item you have in your wardrobe which is still in regular use and why do you like it?

A dark blue fleece bought when they were just becoming fashionable. It’s comfortable and still looks good (in my opinion) – proving that it is worth paying for quality.

What do you like most about your job?

Meeting interesting people and achieving what I set out to do.

One thing not many people know about you?

I’m not thick skinned.

Who would play you in a film?

I’d like to think it would be George Clooney but I’m told it should be Michael Kitchen of Foyle’s War.


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May 26th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline


EAST Grinstead Art Society is holding and exhibition/sale in Queens Walk on Saturday 31 May.

EAST Grinstead Pensioners Association will be meeting in St Mary’s Church hall, Windmill Lane, on Wednesday 28 May starting at 2pm. The lecture will be on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds by Brian Nobbs.


EAST Grinstead Stamp & Postcard club will be meeting at Chequer Mead Arts Centre on Tuesday 3 June at 2pm  There will be a visit from East Worthing P.S.

EAST Grinstead Flower club will be meeting in the Old Court House on Wednesday 4 June, doors open at 7.15pm for 7.45pm start.The lecture will be Variety is the Spice of Life by Ruth Maw.  Non-members welcome at £2.50 per meeting.


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May 24th, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

Geraldine Durrant reports

how_we_started_leftimageLAST year The Trussel Trust –  the charity behind the East Grinstead Food Bank – fed 913,138 people nationwide.

A Christian charity that does not affiliate itself with any political party and receives no government funding, the Trust is non-judgmental and inclusive, providing assistance to people of all backgrounds, and all faiths or none, who are in genuine need.

There are 13 million people living below the poverty line in the UK and every day some of them go hungry. Many are pensioners who have to choose between eating and heating. Some are mothers on low incomes who regularly miss meals to feed their children. Other struggling families will find themselves pushed into poverty by sudden redundancy or an unexpected bill.

For The Trussel Trust the provision of food and other basic necessities to the needy through a nationwide network of food banks is simply putting Christian care for the poor and marginalised into action.

But although their network now operates UK wide, the Trust actually began its work in Bulgaria in 1996 when Paddy and Carol Henderson, who were working for a UN feeding programme, met baby Boris.

Living with his 14-year-old mother at the Central Railway Station, Boris was a ‘really, really small, very vulnerable and very smelly’ baby who craved cuddles as much as his mother, a drug addict, craved food.

Paddy vowed to keep Boris alive that winter, but faced a dilemma. Given the dire state of Bulgarian orphanages was it better to leave him with his child-mother who, despite her lifestyle, loved him – or condemn him to neglect in a poorly-run institution?

‘I knew then I had to do something to get Boris and 60-plus other kids off the streets and away from glue-sniffing, drugs and child prostitution.’

With money left to Carol by her mother Betty Trussell, the Hendersons founded The Trussell Trust to help these forgotten children.

But it wasn’t long before they realised there were children much closer to home going without life’s basic essentials too.

In 2000 Paddy was fundraising for Bulgaria in Salisbury when he received a call from a desperate local mother.

‘My children are going to bed hungry tonight,’ she told him. ‘What are you going to do about it?’

Further investigation revealed she was not alone in struggling to feed her family, and that significant numbers of other local people also faced short-term hunger as the result of a sudden crisis in their lives.

Paddy immediately set up the Salisbury food bank in his garden shed, and in 2004 the UK food bank network was launched to teach churches and other community groups nationwide how to start their own.

IMG_0212Clients receive three days of nutritionally-balanced, non-perishable food, all of which is donated by the public and sorted by volunteers. A typical box will include long life or powdered milk, sugar, fruit juice, soup and pasta sauces, tinned sponge and rice puddings, tinned fruit, jam, biscuits and cereals as well as tinned meats and fish, coffee, tea, cereals, rice and pasta.

To stock it, the Trust organises regular collections outside supermarkets where they ask customers to donate food items from a list of the goods they need.

Food bank volunteers, who work with social workers and medical professionals, also take time to chat with clients over a cup of tea or a hot meal, and to point them in the direction of other help they might need.

But providing emergency aid isn’t just about food – it also helps prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

The original food bank started in Paddy’s garden shed now feeds more than 4,000 people a year but even small food banks can make an enormous difference to the communities they serve.

Since 2004 the Trust has helped to launch 423 nationwide – including East Grinstead’s own –  served by 30,000 volunteers.

The Trust supplies training, an operating manual and IMG_0213PR material to new groups, as well as giving them support through an online forum, conferences and access to its network of shared ideas and experience. The Trust is also happy to send out speakers to schools, churches and other community groups, particularly around harvest time when many of them organise food collections for the needy.

* The East Grinstead Food Bank is based at the Jubilee Centre.

It is open to clients three times a week: between 1pm and 3pm on Mondays and Fridays, and on Wedesdays from 9am until 11am.

To find out more ring 07983209940.
Food donations can be dropped off at the Centre at any time it is open.

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May 23rd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

GOVIA, a joint venture majority owned by Go-Ahead,  has been awarded the franchise to run the expanded Thameslink rail network, the  largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue, and staff. 

The highlights of the deal, which will run for seven years from this September include:

• New trains – introducing three new train fleets

• More services – 10,000 additional morning peak seats into London

• Increasing capacity – 50% more passenger capacity created

• Better connections – up to 24 trains per hour through the Thameslink core in peak periods

• Station enhancement –  £50m investment in improving facilities

Commenting on the award, David Brown, Group Chief Executive of The Go-Ahead Group, said: ‘I’m delighted the DfT has chosen us to operate this important and complex franchise and to play an instrumental role in delivering the benefits of the Government’s £6 billion Thameslink Programme.

‘This will be the UK’s busiest franchise and we will be introducing 50 per cent more capacity into central London during peak times, with 26 per cent more morning peak carriages providing 10,000 additional seats.

‘This award is testimony to the experience of our people of working in partnership with the DfT, Network Rail and other industry stakeholders and in delivering major integration projects and change programmes.

‘Our bid for the franchise was focused on improving customers’ experience and includes two new train fleets for Gatwick Express and Moorgate services, in addition to overseeing the introduction of the Thameslink trains already ordered, as well as delivering improvements at stations.

‘I’m looking forward to working with existing colleagues and welcoming new staff and together delivering this transformational franchise.’

 Alistair Gordon, Chief Executive of minority group Keolis UK, added:

 ‘We are pleased that the strengths of the Govia partnership have been recognised today in the awarding of this important franchise and look forward to delivering its challenging requirements.’

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May 23rd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

ARTIST Andy Webb has allowed us a look at his work-in-progress for Townscape – the Art Trail which will be located across East Grinstead from the 30 May.

He is working with various items of metal work ‘scavenged ‘ from both the Bluebell and Network Rail which will form his installations.

Right now, with them more or less finished and awaiting final assembly, Andy is wondering what colour he should paint them.EG mainline 1EG mainline 2 bluebell 1bluebell 2

Posted in Council, Entertainment and Arts, Environment, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , ,

May 23rd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline
A DOG which may have been involved in killing a lamb and injuring other sheep on the Ashdown Forest earlier in the month  has been seen on the loose again, chasing sheep and ponies near the Chestnut Farm area of Nutley.
Visitors to the Forest have been asked to keep an eye out for the fast-moving russet-coloured dog which is about the size of a setter, with a bushy tail.
If anyone recognises the animal’s description, or sees the dog loose, please report it on 01342 823583.

Posted in Environment, News, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , ,

May 22nd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline


THE changing face of the town railway station is to be featured in a new book, The English Railway Station, by Steven Parissien. 


The book will feature its history from the original building which was opened on 9 July, 1855 (of which the photo above is the only known surviving image) to its most recent incarnation.


1866 Station

Only seven years after the first station was built, Parliamentary approval was obtained for the 13.5-mile extension of the line to Tunbridge Wells West via Groombridge. The extension required East Grinstead station to be relocated a few yards North at a lower level in a cutting immediately to the West of the London Road to allow the line to pass under the highway.

During construction, the Surveyor of Highways of the Parish of East Grinstead complained  that the station approaches were ‘inconvenient and dangerous’ and that the road entrance for carriages was situated on the narrow bridge over the line.

The new station building straddled the double track with basements at platform level which contained the stationmaster’s office and porter’s room. A large brick goods shed replaced the previous timber structure, whilst the site of the old station became a goods yard. The new station was opened for traffic on 1 October 1866, and the old one closed the same day.


1883 Station

A third re-modelling of East Grinstead station was made necessary by the arrival in the town of two lines: the Lewes and East Grinstead from the South on 1 August 1882, followed by the Croydon, Oxted and East Grinstead   from the North on 10 March 1884. It was not possible to enlarge the 1866 station to accommodate the new lines and it was therefore decided to build a new station around 300 yards to the West which was arranged on two levels.

From 1955 the Low Level station fell into virtual disuse and eventually demolition works began on the old station which was replaced with a single storey prefabricated building (pictured below) opened in 1972. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe present station building (pictured below at night) which replaced it was officially opened in the presence  of the Town Mayor Liz Bennett and MP Nicholas Soames on 8 March, 2013.


Posted in History, Travel, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

May 22nd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

WE have been asked by Chequer Mead theatre to alert as many people as possible that tonight’s Rolling Clones concert has been cancelled.

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May 22nd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline


Sian thomasSUSSEX poet Siân Thomas will be holding a three hour writing workshop suitable for both novice and more experienced writers at the Ashdown Forest Centre on 22 June, from 10.30am until 1.30pm.

The workshop will include a short walk (about half a mile) along the Broadstone Amble, so as well as pen and paper, remember to take suitable clothing and footwear.

The cost is £5, non-refundable, and places are limited to 12, so book early to avoid disappointment. To book a place call 01342 823583 or mail

This Well Holds a House
by Siân Thomas

Wind the handle for the bucket that knocks at the side
dislodging moss and brick flakes.  See the steam rise
from the chimney.  See in the garden the ducks sploshing
for their sops; willows thriving in the mush; cool water
for washing and drinking, or warmed in the dark like a geyser.
See the beds and chairs and tables and windows, soft
as sponges.  See the laundry, never drying, where the web-footed
wrinkle-palmed husband and the web-footed, wrinkle-palmed
wife are wringing out their babies to hand them in the shade.


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May 22nd, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

A Food Bank volunteer sorts donations into type and date for storage

by Geraldine Durrant

IN a prosperous middle-class town like East Grinstead people often don’t realise that among their near neighbours will be someone in need of a helping hand to feed themselves or their family, says Julia Harris of the town’s Food Bank.

But more than a thousand people have been given emergency food rations since the East Grinstead bank started its work in December 2012 – and Julia knows there are many more who could be helped if they knew the Food Bank existed, or could bring themselves to ask for its support.

Sudden illness, redundancy, the break-up of a long-term relationship or an unexpected household bill can make the difference between getting by, and going under.

And there are no ‘typical’ clients says Julia. Food poverty can happen to anyone, and when life begins to unravel, it can happen frighteningly fast.

‘I remember one man who came to us and said “I have never claimed a penny in benefit in my life, and now I am here, I think I am going to cry.”

‘He had had his own business, a home and a marriage. But when he lost his job and his marriage failed, he ended up sleeping in a friend’s back room with a kettle for company.’



The idea for the East Grinstead Food Bank began at the Trinity Methodist Church when a small group got together to see if there was a need for one in the town.

They did their homework with the Citizens Advice Bureau, Social Services, and other care agencies and came to the conclusion that there were indeed cases of hidden poverty in the town which could be alleviated by crisis food aid.

‘We held a meeting expecting 12 people to turn up and more than 70 came,’ Julia recalled.

And along with volunteers ‘with a heart for the poor’, the project also received generous donations of money and food to get them started.

Initially based at Trinity Methodist Church, the Food Bank has recently moved to the Jubilee Centre in Charlwoods Road where it is open three times a week (see below).

Anyone who needs help can apply to any of the 60 voucher-holders in the town, which include schools, doctors surgeries, social services and other agencies who are likely to come across people in need.

Once armed with a voucher for three days worth of emergency supplies, they can then pick up a box of food, specifically tailored to their needs and the number of people it must feed.

Just as importantly, the volunteers will welcome clients in and give them a cup of tea and the chance – if they want it – to talk.

‘People can come here, relax and feel safe. We are not a counselling service, and we are not going to try to convert anyone. They can simply ‘be’ in an accepting place where we can also signpost them to other help if they need it.

‘This is a small thing to do. But a very important thing.’

The generous allocation of supplies includes food, household materials where necessary, and also nappies and baby milk.

The help the Food Bank offers is limited to three vouchers – unless a crisis remains unresolved, in which case there is discretion to offer more.

But no-one asking for food would ever be sent away empty-handed, says Julia.

“We are here. We want to help. And we want to make it easy for people.”

With the nearest adjacent Food Banks in Caterham, Crawley and Tunbridge Wells, some people have walked to East Grinstead from Lingfield or Crawley Down.

Often, she says, they are bent over with anxiety when they arrive – but leave upright knowing that help is available, and that they have been welcomed, not judged.

Often clients come only once, and the volunteers never know how their story ends.

Sometimes however, months later, they will come back through the door with a bag of donated food, because life has improved and they want to give something back.

‘We take an holistic approach to people, and we give them what we can from what we have been so generously given,’ said Julia

‘It is a privilege to be here – and we will never send anyone away hungry.’

The East Grinstead Food Bank is based at the Jubilee Centre.

It is open to clients three times a week: between 1pm and 3pm on Mondays and Fridays, and on Wednesdays from 9am until 11am.

To find out more ring 07983209940.
Food donations can be dropped off at the centre at any time it is open.

* On Saturday we will carry the story of baby Boris and how he inspired The Trussel Trust to start Food Banks like East Grinstead’s across the UK.

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May 21st, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline
Amanda Redman with The Royal College of Surgeons President Professor Norman Williams and Guinea Pig Dr Sandy Saunders - photo courtesy of the Blond McIndoe Reserch Foundation

Amanda Redman with The Royal College of Surgeons President Professor Norman Williams and Guinea Pig Dr Sandy Saunders –
photo courtesy of the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation

AMANDA Redman, who is a Patron of the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation, will be one of the special guests attending the unveiling of the McIndoe statue on 9 June.

Amanda – who has had a long and varied career ranging from comedy to film drama and Shakespeare – is probably best known for her work in the hugely popular BBC TV series New Tricks.

She also has a very personal reason for supporting the BMRF’s work.

Amanda was just 15-months-old when she was accidentally scalded with a pan of boiling soup. Research shows that the overwhelming majority of burn accidents in childhood still occur in the home, and particularly in the kitchen.

In high income countries, children under five are at the highest risk of hospitalisation from burns with nearly 75% of burn injuries in young children caused by hot liquids, hot tap water or steam.

Young children are  particularly vulnerable as their skin is thinner than adults’ and can suffer deep burns more quickly.

Amanda – who suffered 3rd degree burns to 75% of her body – was treated at the Queen Victoria Hospital and needed a number of operations as she grew up.

Now the only part of her body that is affected is her left arm where scars run from her shoulder to her elbow.

As well as her own acting career, Amanda nurtures new talent in her role as the co-founder of the Artists’ Theatre School of which she is also principal.

Amanda said of her work for the BMRF: ‘I am thrilled to be able to help this charity which means so much to me. Having experienced a burns accident myself, I have some insight into the needs of burns patients and a desire to see treatments improved so they can be healed quicker and more effectively.’

* The time the statue will be unveiled has been brought forward by 15 minutes, to 1.15pm. People wanting a good view would be well advised to be in place in plenty of time.

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May 21st, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

TomCinnabar-e1400494326667COUNTRYSIDE worker Tom Simon, who took this picture of the distinctive red and black Cinnabar moth resting on a dock leaf on the Ashdown Forest, has warned visitors not to touch its black and yellow striped caterpillar as it will give them a rash.

The moth extracts the toxins from its food plant, Ragwort, and then uses them as a defence against predators – including curious children.

The caterpillars can grow up to 30mm long and are voracious eaters., which is why the moth has been introduced into New Zealand, Australia and North America to control poisonous ragwort. But their distinctive stripes mean they are seldom eaten by predators except some species of Cuckoo.

UnknownLarge populations will strip patches of ragwort clean as a result of their low predation, but often die before turning into pupae mainly because they have completely consumed their food source before reaching maturity – which may explain why they can turn cannibal and eat other cinnabar larvae.

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May 21st, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline
Nature & B PDI of the Year_Andy Ruxton_Ladybird

© Andy Ruxton

OUR Photo of the Week is by Andy Ruxton.

Andy –  a relatively new member of the East Grinstead Camera Club – recently won one of the Club’s ‘nature’ competitions with this photograph of a ladybird he found in his garden.

The Club has some very strong animal and natural history photographers, some of whom travel the world in search of the elusive and rare.

But sometimes, as Andy proves in this great photograph, there are fabulous shots right under our noses…

Posted in Entertainment and Arts, Environment, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

May 21st, 2014 by eastgrinsteadonline

Courtesy @HarrietSJones

ST SWITHUN’S church was full to bursting on Sunday for a gala evening featuring an A-Z of songs from classic early 20th century musicals right up to recent smashes such as Les Miserables and Wicked.

A group of professional singers, who had all starred in West End musicals, performed popular songs from shows such as West Side Story, the King and I, Oklahoma, Evita, Kiss Me Kate and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

A personal highlight was the stunning range and power delivered by Scott Davies, who could fill the church with his voice, but then bring his performance down to a delicate whisper. He is currently starring as the stand-in for the role of the Phantom and has played the main character many times in his career. He was joined by a colleague in Harriet Jones, who is currently starring as Christine in the Phantom of the Opera in London.


However, it was hard to single anyone out as each performer gave their all and the audience was treated to a series of amazing renditions of popular show tunes, as well as a history of musical theatre and some anecdotes about the stars and composers of yesteryear.

An incredible evening of entertainment was enjoyed by the packed house, who rose as one to give the generous stars two standing ovations at the finale, which was a medley of songs from the evergreen Les Miserables.

The evening raised funds for the church restoration.

Barney Durrant


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