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Rusthall Life

November - December 2020 | Issue 29

Your Village‌ Your Magazine

Distributed FREE throughout the village

Produced by Langton Life Ltd | Tel: 07765 902139 | Email:




Rusthall Life Supported by Rusthall Parish Council

Contents Local happenings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Property watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Generations of Rusthall Gardners . . . . . . . . 11 Pond life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Back in the day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 St Paul’s Primary School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Useful contacts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Local church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Local council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Front cover: Rusthall sunset by Jenni Mathews

local happenings

Million step Michael Seven-year-old Michael Harrison of Rusthall has been busy since July completing the Million Step Challenge to raise money for Diabetes UK, a charity which supports people affected by diabetes. The challenge, which runs every year from July to September asks participants to walk a million steps over the course of the three months. When I spoke to Rusthall St Paul’s pupil Michael about the challenge he had just passed his target of a million steps and had raised £124.34 through sponsorship for the charity. What made him want to take part, I ask? “My nanny has done the challenge for the last few years and I like to try and beat her steps each day, so I thought I would do it this year. I have a great uncle with diabetes and I want him to get better. I know the charity helps people.” Where is his favourite place to go on walks to get his steps? “I love walking in the Ashdown Forest and the woods around Rusthall,” he tells us. “There are lots of places to build dens.” The pictures show Michael on a walk to the airman’s grave on the Ashdown Forest, and with his family including nanny Jean Meadows who inspired him. Well done Michael!

View Rusthall Life online at

Contact Rusthall Life magazine! The magazine is a celebration of life in Rusthall and is published 6 times a year. It is delivered door to door to the 2000-plus houses in the village, and is available at local shops and in some surrounding villages. Please submit editorial and advertisements (pre-paid) for the next edition by 5th December 2020. Tel: 07765 902139 Email: Editor: Ian Campbell Deputy editor: Jayne Sharratt The publishers cannot be held responsible for the content of the editorial in this publication.

Jeep spotting! We loved the sight of this 1951 Willy’s jeep 2AB parked outside the A Star café while its owner was getting a coffee and had to go over to find out more. “I wanted one all my life,” its owner told us. “It’s no tax, no MOT, no indicators, wipers, doors, congestion charge…and it’s so much fun cross country!” He bought it four years ago and had to travel to the far north to get it. His dog’s name is Tusa, a Portuguese name. She is three and a half and loves travelling in the jeep. “She always jumps into it, even if I’m not going to drive it.”

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Rusthall Life


local happenings

Thank you, customers Lucy and Melissa at the Southwood Road Salon are enjoying being back at work after being closed during lockdown. “We have got into a good routine now; with all the hygiene and social distancing measures we have in place. It’s been better than we thought it would be – our customers have been massively glad to be back, and we are still very popular and in demand. The first week back was a bit like the run up to Christmas, it was so busy, but it is a good atmosphere,” they tell us, adding that they would like to thank all their customers for being so cooperative and understanding.

Two Katies at the pet shop Katie at Paws for Food told us they have a new member of staff, Katie Bennett. The ‘new’ Katie is being brought in because Katie is pregnant and will be stepping back from work in December. As she spoke to us her dad was out doing thirteen deliveries to customers. “Quite a few of our customers do a regular weekly order and we don’t charge for delivery,” she tells us. Congratulations and best wishes to Katie.

Pumpkin grower Massi Hayter has been very busy this year growing pumpkins, and all his hard work paid off in time for Halloween with a bumper crop.

Bonfire and fete committee update 2020 has been a tough year for everyone and at the start of the year, who could have predicted what was to come? Sadly this has meant that our much loved community events organized by the Rusthall Bonfire and Fete committee have not been able to take place and this will include the Christmas Carols around the tree and our community event in the hall. We really wanted to bring some Christmas spirit back, bring the village together once more as a community but safely and so the idea was born “Light Up Rusthall”. Alongside the Christmas Tree in the high street and the village shop window competition, we would like the villagers to come together and decorate their houses and front gardens ready to switch on at 6.30pm on the 4th December and really light up the village. We may be apart this year in our own homes but we can all bring a smile to the faces of others during the month of December with some wonderfully lit up streets in our amazing village. We look forward to seeing all the wonderful festive scenes and hopefully to coming back with a bang in 2021 with our summer fete - fingers crossed!


Pictured are the chair of the committee Annie Softley, Barry Edwards, treasurer Debbie Hurley and secretary Alison Fagan. Also pictured is Muriel Reeves, who is retiring from the committee this year. After celebrating the Queen’s jubilee in 1977 Muriel had the idea that there should be a village bonfire night later in the year to bring the community together, and it has been going from strength to strength ever since. Rusthall owes a debt of gratitude to her.

Rusthall Life




On Dec 4th at 6.30pm @ your own home & throughout On Dec 4thDecember at 6.30pm @ your

On Dec 4th at 6.30pm @ your own home & throughout December own home & throughout December

Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the On Dec 4th at 6.30pm @ your Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the community tree once again own home & throughout December

community Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the tree once again community tree once again

On Dec 4th at 6.30pm @ your own home & throughout December


Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the community tree once again

RUSTHALL open to all

On Dec 4th at 6.30pm @ your community treehome once again own & throughout December Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the

Thank you to the Parish Council for donating the community tree once again

Rusthall Club is open to members and non-members. Enjoy reasonably priced drinks in our newly decorated safe and relaxed premises. Draught Lagers £3.30 • Med Glass Wine £3.40 Guinness £3.80 • Harveys Best Bitter £3.60 We also have a range of 7 Gins Open at 4pm Mon-Fri and 12 noon Sat & Sun

Call us for details 01892 539996 Visit us on Facebook @ Rusthall Club - New Rusthall Life


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local happenings

Rusthall business wins Construction and Engineering award Congratulations to Rusthall based business LG Contractors Ltd who recently won the award for Best Road Resurfacing and Repair Specialists in the South East at the 2020 Construction and Engineering Awards. Established in 2014 they describe themselves as a family run business achieving old fashioned work ethics with a modern twist. LG were nominated for the award due to the high number of repairs and surfacing works carried out in the Kingston Borough, as the main supply chain partner to Kier Highways in Royal Kingston Upon Thames, carrying out all footway maintenance and carriageway pothole repairs with land drainage, vehicle crossings and much more. They worked as key workers throughout the pandemic and achieved a remarkable 2000 repairs in the carriageways and footways in the three-month lockdown period. The company is also a Kent County Council and East Sussex approved contractor and do all the vehicle crossings (dropped kerbs) in the area along with driveways and landscaping works. LG love the community in Tunbridge Wells, especially Rusthall, and as keen football fans they have a lot to do with the local football community. “We recently designed and installed the new concourse at Rusthall Football Club,” Lewis Gillam tells us. “LG are the first team sponsors of Rusthall Football Club and the u13s which my son currently captains and plays for. LG also volunteered to do local neighbourhood improvement works for free for Rusthall.”

Breaking bad in Rusthall

We spotted this Mercedes 208D Autotrail with a Comanche body outside Headway Court in Rusthall and were reminded of the TV series ‘Breaking bad’.

Wonderful Rusthall We have lived on the Rusthall and Langton Green boundary since 1985 and have always related to Rusthall shops as they are closer. A recent incident demonstrated why I love the place (my wife, Gillian, who died last year was as equal a fan). I went down to get my paper and a few bits from the One Stop (next to the chemist) but along the way lost my money and newspaper voucher. At the till in One Stop Coral caused me no embarrassment saying go and check if you have left the money at home and then come back and pay. Nothing at home but retracing my steps I found the newspaper voucher but no sign of the two £10 notes. I paid up at One Stop then went back to where I found the newspaper voucher only for Christabel from the Venture to come up to me and say “Have you lost any money?” They had seen the notes on the pavement and checked their outdoor CCTV recording and could see the money coming out of my pocket. They had noted down the clothes I was wearing so it was Christabel that approached me. It would have been so easy for anyone to have picked up the notes but the Venture went beyond the extra mile to return them to me. I went back to One Stop to tell Coral and she was delighted for me that I had my money back. Wonderful Rusthall. Paul Harris

Wild in Rusthall? “Wild in Sevenoaks” may sound like an oxymoron! A small though growing group of wildlife enthusiasts in Sevenoaks is trying to prove it is not by clubbing together to encourage wildlife to flourish in their gardens. The theory is simple: if more and more gardeners take one or two steps to help wildlife - by growing pollinator-friendly plants, letting a patch of garden grow wild, installing a pond, not using pesticides, planting a tree - the cumulative effect can be massive. And will give our struggling birds, bees and other wildlife a much needed lifeline. To learn more, check out Wild in 7oaks on Facebook. There is even a free set of blue hearts to the first reader of Rusthall Life who follows the page! Even better if they launch Wild in Rusthall!”

Rusthall Life


local property

Property watch A selection of properties in and around Rusthall currently available or recently sold - prices for guidance.

Longmeads, Rusthall. £700,000. Semi-detached family home with four bedrooms, an openplan kitchen dining room with door to garden and integral garage.

Manor Road, Rusthall. £600,000. Semi-detached Edwardian period family home with two reception rooms, four bedrooms, a garden and a downstairs cloakroom.

Southwood Road, Rusthall. £550,000. Immaculately presented semi-detached period family home with five bedrooms and kitchen dining room rear extension with doors to garden.

Lower Green Road, Rusthall. £425,000. Semi-detached home with two bedrooms, many period features and a garden, facing the common.

Rusthall High Street, Rusthall. £385,000. Three bedroom semi-detached twentieth-century family home, with box bay window to lounge, open plan modern kitchen-diner and driveway for cars.

Rusthall High Street, Rusthall. £350,000. Modern mews house with two double bedrooms, modern kitchen, parking for two cars and well maintained garden.

Gladstone Road, Rusthall. £280,000. Victorian terraced house with two bedrooms, garden and a wood burner in the lounge.

Southwood Road, Rusthall. £220,000. Twentieth century immaculately presented house with one bedroom, a conservatory, private garden and two allocated parking places.


Rusthall Life

local happenings

Stamp duty holiday don’t delay! It was great to visit KMJ, our Rusthall based family-run estate agents and hear that they are extremely busy right now. “People had been waiting to sell their houses because of uncertainty about Brexit, but after lockdown many people don’t want to wait any more – and the holiday on stamp duty (which ends in March 2021) has helped too. The middle of the market is the most buoyant,” Suzanne tells us. Does she have any tips for anyone wanting to move soon? “If you want to make the most of the stamp duty holiday don’t leave it until the last minute. Solicitors and surveyors are really busy, so it is important to act now if you want to benefit.” The agency has just been singled out to be the exclusive estate agency member of the Federation of Independent Agents for Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge. Graham Lock, founder of the FIA, recently announced KMJ would join a select group of agencies from around the country as recognition of the high levels of customer service and professionalism that they provide. “We have very high standards of entry to the FIA, our members are spoken to at length and vetted to ensure that they meet our criteria. I was delighted when David accepted my invitation to join, we are very happy to have KMJ on board to further enhance our groups’ reputation and give local home movers further confidence in selecting KMJ Property as their local estate agent,” he said. David Johnson,

Managing Director of KMJ Property added, “We are very pleased to be standing alongside some of the best agents around the UK. Some agents get hung up on spreadsheets and targets, forgetting that, if you do the job well, giving genuine advice and support, word will get around! Some of the best service provided, in any profession, is often by an independent business - where care really matters.’

Cub Scouting in lockdown When we had our flag down ceremony at the end of our spring camp back in March we didn’t know that we wouldn’t meet again for six months. On the very next day, a Monday, the country went into lockdown. Once the shock of the announcement had subsided the leaders’ thoughts moved to how we could carry on some form of scouting for the Cubs. There were a lot of ideas from the wider scouting community of going virtual and setting the young people work to do at home which we took on, but we felt they still needed to see the leaders. So every Wednesday Akela broadcast live on our Facebook page setting the Cubs their weekly activities or challenges. The weekly tasks included badge work which could be done in the home such as Chef, Home Help, Personal Safety and Home Safety badges. We even asked them to safely light a small fire in their garden to complete the Backwoods Cooking badge. Soon after lockdown began the Scout Group organised a “Camp In” where all the young people from the group were asked to put up a tent or build a shelter and sleep in it for the night, whether this was indoors or outdoors it all counted and went towards a special blanket badge designed by one of the Scouts. This was the first of three camps the Cubs took part in during lockdown, the second was a virtual family camp at home and the last was a Harry Potter themed camp for the Cubs and Beavers. The good news is that as of 16th September the Cubs have finally started to meet face to face once again. Although only in small socially distanced groups outside it is great to see the Cubs again getting up to scouting activities and learning “#Skills For Life”. If you have a young person, between 6 and 18 years old, who might want to try Scouting please email rusthallscoutgroupwaitinglist@ or search St Paul’s Rusthall Scout Group on Facebook and click the “Contact Us” button.

Rusthall Life


local happenings A look back at Rusthall High Street Shops Part 26 The present terrace of private residences 52-62 High Street was built in 1908 for Thomas James Guilford whose initials appear on the property. One of Guilford’s earlier developments at Woodside Road was tenanted by G. Still Master Builder – who constructed the High Street premises and moved into 52. This property still retains what resembles a shop facia board although no evidence has come to light of it being a retail shop. However, there are anecdotal reports of either Still and/or his successor J. Ovenden using the front room as an office for their builder’s businesses 1912-1921. The other end of the terrace on the corner of Erskine Park Road although now in private occupancy was definitely built as a dwelling incorporating a shop. Initially it was a greengrocers run by Annie and Fred Tester followed by Henry Morris (1914 – 1933) who steadily introduced grocery lines. This shop was described as a General Store by Mrs F Hillyer who within two years had sold to William A Smith; he reportedly wore ex-army mittens when handling greengrocery in wintertime and invariably had a large dewdrop! Greengrocery sales were discontinued in 1949 with the arrival of new owners Miss Hurst and Mr Akehurst. Strangely whilst the top half of the window facing the High Street was dressed by contractors for the Imperial Tobacco Company, the bottom was empty except for an odd jar of sweets and a box of party balloons. Grocery packets and placards were featured in the side window whilst hoardings advertising Brooke Bond Tea, Oxo etc. adorned the adjacent timber fence. The delivery service which had taken so much of Mr Akehurts’s time was discontinued with new owners J. Disley (1961-63), G & T King (1963-67) and D.E. Judges (1968-72). They also removed rear panels

to the window displays giving the sales shop a much lighter feel. The photograph features the next owners B & H Wright tenure which came to an unfortunate end. Mr Wright unexpectantly died in 1976 and his widow, unable to find a buyer was obliged to cease trading in 1979/80. The property was then renovated into two flats. Dennis Penfold, Rusthall Local History Group

Hands on Dyspraxia book Local resident Jill Christmas has written two books to help children with dyspraxia and their parents, and we met up with her in her ‘free-range’ garden to find out more. We start by asking Jill what dyspraxia is. “Put simply, it is a difficulty with carrying out automatic movements of the body,” Jill explains. “A lot of children struggle with co-ordinating their body, which affects fine motor skills. They are often intelligent, but their self-esteem has been effected.” Jill is an occupational therapist who set up the Christmas Clinic in the early 1990s to work with children find ways of adapting to their needs. Although she is now retired her clinic still exists as the Starjumpz clinic in Crowborough. The books she wrote were Sensory Dinosaurs, which was illustrated by her son Sam, and Hands on Dyspraxia which has recently been updated in a second edition by Routledge, and is a practical guidebook for parents, teachers and other professionals supporting children with development co-ordination disorder (DCD). “The key thing about the books was that we wanted to make it straightforward and easy to understand,” says Jill. “We ask about each diagnosis, ‘So what? How does it affect the child?’ and ‘Now What? How can we help the child best?’ Their strengths and challenges can be assessed to understand how they can get on at school. Therapy sessions can help, as can strategies in schools, planning the day ahead, and core strengthening, to get muscles more in balance. Often the biggest thing we addressed was self-esteem.” Jill ran her clinic from her home for twenty years and describes it fondly as a ‘hard-working house’, as her husband also ran an architectural practice from it before he too retired. “I saw thousands of children here and their parents who just wanted to know what the issues facing their children were and how to help. Before that we used to live in a converted stable block of Ashurst Place which was quite chaotic because of the work we did on it, but this house has been a balm, a calm place. I love Rusthall, it has everything. Such a beautiful place to live and to walk straight on to the common is gorgeous and special.”


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Rusthall Life

Generations of Rusthall Gardners discussion group the next day by zoom. For some that works better, as when it was after the film it was often too late for some.” Eugene has lived in Rusthall for sixtyfour years, and his home was originally his grandparents’ home in the 1950s and was later occupied by his parents before he and his wife Karen lived there. His grandparents and parents used to run the shop at 18 the High Street which is now part of the One Stop. In those days it was GE and E Gardner, a newsagent, which also sold tobacco, confectionery and stationery. He remembers his neighbours Val and Stan used to supply his parents with newspapers from Tunbridge Wells. After our meeting Eugene’s wife Karen sent us these fantastic pictures of the newsagents in the 1950s and 1970s which will undoubtedly bring back some memories for many Rusthall residents!

It was great to catch up with Eugene Gardner outside his home on a sunny day in September. Eugene is the organiser of Rusthall Community Cinema Club, which has been going from strength to strength in recent years and has recently been able to re-start with social distancing measures in place after lockdown. Eugene has also spent time driving for South Central Ambulance Services, which he increased from his normal levels during the covid-19 outbreak, as many regular drivers had to self-isolate. How does it feel being able to re-open the community cinema, we ask? “Those who come are certainly happy to be back. We have a maximum audience of fifty so that people can be spaced out in the hall, and we have cut down the time we are in the hall by sending the short films before the main feature by email link out before hand, and having the

Geoff Gardner

Number 18 ’The Paper Shop’

Living above the shop

The paper girls

Rusthall Life


A little further apart, but even closer together

Now welcoming new residents

There’s no denying that the last few months have been a strange and testing time for us all. But, it’s also been a time of great discovery, learning and laughter. From the video calls to theme nights, from heartfelt chats to spontaneous dancing; life hasn’t stopped at Chamberlain Court Care Home. So, although we’re all, physically, a little further apart, we’re even closer than ever. Find out what we’ve been up to, and read about the safety precautions we have in place, by visiting or call us on 01892 618773.

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Pond Life

From meat eating predators to stinging scorpions, it’s amazing what you’ll discover when you delve beneath the surface of a humble garden pond.

Whirligig Beetle – One of several small black beetles that whizz around on the surface. Swims underwater when threatened, can carry a bubble of air to breathe with. A predator and scavenger, it eats smaller invertebrates. It has two pairs of eyes that can look above and below the water at the same time.

Water Snail – Feeds on algae and rotting matter. Can grow from 2-3mm to 50mm dependent on species. The glutinous snail is one of the rarest because it requires very clean water.

Pond Skater – Skates across the surface on long legs – it has water-repellent hairs on the bottom of its feet, so it literally walks on water. Emerges from hibernation from April onwards. Flies well and rapidly colonises new ponds. A predator and scavenger, has a sharp beak to grab smaller invertebrates. Diving Beetle – Predator, eats other invertebrates, tadpoles and small fish. Larvae have two tails. It has red antennae and front legs. About 10mm long.

Caddisfly – Can be found in most good-quality ponds. Most larvae have a case made by glueing together bits from the pond. They live in clean, shallow ponds with surrounding plants. Feeds on algae and decaying matter. The adults are nocturnal and fly at night. They resemble moths but with wings folded back along the body. Lesser Water Boatman – Swims near the bottom on its front with two paddle-like arms. Lays eggs attached to plant stems. Eats pond matter and algae. Grazes on algae and rotting matter.

Backswimmer – It rows under the surface with oarlike legs on its back. A predator and scavenger, it can eat tadpoles and even small fish. Can give a painful nip if caught. They can also fly well to new habitat.

Dragonfly Nymph – Voracious predator. Eats tadpoles and small fish. Has a fat, stocky body and can grow to about 40mm long. Easily distinguished from damselfly nymph as it has no ‘tails’.

local happenings Library and Rusthall councillor – children’s centre Mayor of Tunbridge Wells still closed Rusthall Library is likely to remain closed for the rest of the year, which Kent County Council has said is in order to avoid the additional costs of making all their public buildings Covid secure. Showfields and Southborough Libraries are open and you can check opening times at www.kent. or by phoning 03000 423131. The Sure Start Harmony Children’s Centre in Rusthall is also closed but continues to host appointment only health services such as midwife appointments. For families missing the wider range of activities the children’s centre offered there are on-line activities and pop-up sessions in parks taking place. For more information you can check the facebook page @TWChildrensCentre at Tunbridge Wells District Children’s Centres or phone 03000 414600. They have also started a new family advice line MondayFriday between 10-12 and 1pm-4pm on 03000 416200.

Benefits of on-line tutoring


Congratulations to Joy Podbury- one of several past Rusthall Councillors to become Mayor. James (Jim) W. Perry (hotelier and active member of St Pauls) was elected as Councillor for Rusthall Ward in 1974 and became Mayor in 1989. An unfortunate victim of the antiPoll Tax vote in 1990, Jim, who had been instrumental in getting Parsonage and Ashley Park Roads redeveloped in the 1980s, was unable to fully complete his year as Mayor. During the 1960s Rusthall formed part of the Borough’s West Ward and one of its councillors was Gerald Slater – solicitor and Lower Green Road resident – who also became Mayor.

Dennis Penfold, Rusthall Local History Group

Rusthall Life on audio Each issue of Rusthall Life is now available to be emailed as an audio file. This service is for anyone with sight loss, or indeed anyone who would enjoy listening to the magazine in preference to reading. Our reader is Ian Cowdroy, who has many years experience in this field. Please let the editor know details of anyone who might like to take advantage of this service

“It’s been a real revelation,” says Paul Froome, of his experience tutoring on-line. Having taught for thirteen years, and worked as the Primary Curriculum Manager at Kip McGrath Tutoring in Tunbridge Wells for the last six years, Paul decided to set up his own business as an on-line primary and 11+ tutor when Covid-19 and a health condition meant he could no longer tutor in person. How does on-line tutoring compare to working in-person, I ask? “I love it,” Paul says. “I genuinely think it’s more effective, and that was a big surprise to me. At the outset I was hesitant, but fortunately it has gone in a positive direction. I have been trying to put my finger on exactly why I think on-line works better, and I think one of the major factors is the bigger range of resources I can draw on. I put them on screen and the child works on a white board we can both see, so I know straight away the point at which they go wrong, whereas on paper it is difficult to see and unpick their misunderstanding.” For the parent it can be more convenient, and Paul often finds there is more parental involvement. “Often a parent will be around to help the child log-in and be in the background, and I give detailed feedback after each session too, which makes it easier for them to feedback to me too.” Focus is maintained through relationship building with the child, which he is finding works in the same way as it would tutoring in person. “You get to know the child well, their likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and a rapport builds up in much the same way as it would if I was in the room with them.” When might a parent consider using a tutor for their child? “Preparation for the 11+ is often the reason, but there are other reasons too,” Paul says. “If a child is struggling academically at school, we don’t have to be bound by where the national curriculum says they should be, we can go right back to basics with a topic and find the point at which their understanding was lost, really consolidate their skills and build up their confidence that they can do it. Once gaps are filled in, often lots of other things fall into place.” Another reason parents get in touch is when a child needs challenging and extending. “With the best will in the world, teachers can’t teach thirty children individually, whereas the beauty of tutoring is that it is personalised, and I can tailor each session to a child’s specific needs.” What is the best part of his job? “The best thing is when a child has been struggling and I see their confidence has grown. That is the most satisfying feeling.” Paul and his wife and daughters have lived locally in Rusthall for twenty years and love it. “It’s a brilliant community here, and the whole area is lovely. It’s wonderful to have the countryside right on our doorstep.”

Rusthall Life

local history

Back in the day A nostalgic selection of images from the past featuring Rusthall and surrounding areas

Rusthall Life

Local country dance

Looking towards Lower Green

Red Lion 1912

Rusthall Church

Rusthall High Street

Rusthall Workhouse

Southview Boarding House

Toad Rock


‘Follow the sun for a brighter smile’

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local happenings Prehistoric and early Christian archaeology It is always fascinating and enjoyable to visit the Rusthall Spring Site to find out about the latest progress in the archaeological dig being undertaken by WKD archaeology and members of the Rusthall community. Landscape Investigator Nigel Stapple was working with volunteers Chris and Pippa and kindly took the time to show me round. A lot more of the rock has been exposed, revealing rock cut features thought to be of medieval and prehistoric date. Nigel believes the history of the site spans thousands of years and had three possible phases. Firstly during the Neolithic Period (around 4,500 – 2,500 BC) evidence suggests it was a quarry where sporadic seams of Quartzose, a local stone substitute for flint, was mined to make tools. Later in the second phase, the presence of springs on the site meant that it may well have been utilized within a ritual context. Solar alignments have also been observed showing summer solstice aligned to a series of nearby landscape features. This has also been confirmed by mathematical modelling. During the third phase of the site it is possible that an early Christian chapel may have been built, with recently excavated stone foundations being evidence of some form of primitive structure. “That is almost a cliché,” Nigel says. “whereby ancient Pagan sites became Christianised, and the Pagan springs often get repurposed as holy wells to the Christians. We inherit what our ancestors leave us and then shape it to our own belief systems. In this part of Britain Christianity was certainly well established by the mid to late Saxon periods and the signs of a building here, the East West alignment, high elevation and views over the Ashdown Forest and the river Grom may well suggest a possible early Christian chapel standing in

a dominant position within the local landscape. The lack of domestic pottery suggests it wasn’t a settlement site and the potential function of any structures would not seem to be related to such. “We are a long way off absolutes, however,” he warns, “and such sites are not particularly well researched in this part of Kent.” The common is rich with landscape features throughout because it hasn’t been developed, and Nigel gives thanks for the support of the Commons Conservators who endorse the dig, as well as the Friends of the Commons who support the on-site work.

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Why choose Rusthall St Paul’s Primary School? First smile, first steps, first day at nursery, first tooth out. All milestones that parents know to capture and treasure. Amongst these wondrous moments are choices to be made and there is nothing as daunting as primary school selection. Visiting schools with toddlers in tow, casting eyes around manic playgrounds and trying to remember which teacher was which and where. It can be overwhelming. I’ve been part of Rusthall St Paul’s Primary School community for three years and cannot imagine my sons being anywhere else. All the boxes I wanted to tick for my boys were there – book-stuffed libraries, outdoor space with raised beds for wonkily planted tomatoes, teachers genuinely happy for me to be in their classrooms, watching them work, taking it all in. A hall full of children’s artwork and the faltering melody of a recorder playing somewhere – a Good Ofsted rating the formal cherry on top. In those school visits I found the formalities of Ofsted and PTAs being thrown at me. But it was the feel of our village school that lingered in my mind and a corner of my heart. A welcoming, inclusive environment that would provide the memories for my children that my primary had left with me. A happy playground full of friends from my neighbouring streets. An inherent interest in what the world has to offer thanks to intuitive teaching and a gentle approach to achieving through sustainable activity and goal setting. And in the strangest of circumstances that 2020 has thrown our way the school has come into its own embracing available technology and efforts of the teaching staff. Primary school only lasts seven years of our lives but, sifting through childhood memories, it feels like the bulk of my education. I now collect my children from a socially distanced, one-way system but the smiles on the faces streaming out towards their parents’ out-stretched arms is the same it has always been. There is a heart to Rusthall St Paul’s and it beats for the future of our village. Anyone with a child born between 1st September 2016 to 31st August 2017 starting school in September 2021 can call the school office on 01892 520582 to find out more. The moment we first stepped onto the school the warmth we felt was palpable. This is a school that nurtures your child, whoever they may be, whoever they may become. Let learning be fun and let them enjoy school, for only then will they want to continue learning throughout life. What a great start for them. We could not be happier with our choice.

Managing verges Reference your article in the latest edition of Rusthall Life, of course verges should be managed to allow wildflowers to establish and thrive. Caroline’s ideas and volunteer activities are right on the button. Anybody who is even vaguely in tune with current thinking would know that there is a groundswell of opinion towards this type of management for all the obvious environmental and ecological reasons. And of course it would also present potential cost savings. It should be noted that this type of verge management does not mean no mowing at all, sight lines at road junctions will need to be kept clear for health and safety reasons and there may be a need for a late August / early September “hay” cut - cutting then leaving the cuttings for a day or two to allow seeds to drop to the ground before collecting the cuttings (to prevent increase in fertility by leaving the cuttings). Diana Lamb

Mr and Mrs Caney-Anderson We live in the village and wanted a school for our children which celebrated the community it was part of. Rusthall St Paul’s does that in abundance. Miss Powell and her dedicated team put the children and their families at the heart of everything they do. They have high expectations of learning and behaviours and all children are encouraged to reach their full potential. The children get meaningful learning experiences, such as visiting The Venture on the High Street to buy seeds to plant in the school garden. My daughter felt so proud telling me about it when we visited the shop afterwards. We are so lucky to have such a great school on our doorstep.

P arkers of the month

Hannah Mackintosh We are proud to be part of St Paul’s Rusthall and were smitten with the school as soon as we visited it. We have been super impressed by the hard work, dedication and passion of Miss Powell and her staff for the betterment of the school and its pupils. Louise Caney By Imogen Fairweather


“Good job I wasn’t using a wheelchair”! Rusthall Life


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Call your local veg lady Sally on 01892 576991 or visit

USEFUL CONTACTS Rusthall Guide Group etc. Daphne Pilcher 01892 521691

Rusthall Village Association Sue White 01892 458695 Allotments Su Denne Parish Chairman Barry Edwards 01892 680296 Parish Clerk Su Denne 01892 520161 Manor Road Pre-School 07972 739852 Parents and Toddlers Monday, 9.30am Church Centre Ann Softley 01892 548366 Choir and Junior Choir Fiona Johnson 01892 532281 St Paul’s Church Parish Office 01892 521447 Rusthall United Reformed Church Church Secretary – Mary Nolze 01892 536737 Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons Membership Secretary – Chris Gurr 01892 542408 The Molyneux Almshouses 07504 839548 Rusthall Community and Youth Project Mike Bassett 01892 543544 Rusthall Football Club Jockey Farm 07897427522 Rusthall Scout Group Beavers, cubs and scouts Rusthall Local History Group Mrs. Gillian Penny 01892 534524 Rusthall Medical Centre 01892 515142 Out of hours medical service 111 Emergency Services 999 Samaritans 116 123 Commons Conservators 01892 554250 Police (Non-emergency) 101 Rusthall Community Arts 07414 253569 Rusthall Cinema Club Eugene Gardner Rusthall Lunch Club Mrs Ros Rodwell 01892 862652 Courier contact Alison Norman 01892 549182 (Rusthall community news in The Courier.

Any event information to be promoted to be emailed or telephoned to me by Wednesday morning the week before Friday edition of the Courier.)

If you represent a community service or organisation that you would like to be listed here, please email the name of the organisation, a contact name and either telephone number or email address to

Rusthall Life


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Rusthall Life

local church Warm greetings to you all at this rather cold time of the year. I trust that you and yours are well. ‘These are indeed not normal times’ but we are trying to not only keep going but flourish, at least in some aspects/areas of life – and in creative ways. The government’s ‘rule of six’ might just provide some of us with the opportunity to build stronger bonds of friendship and mutual support as we continue to do all we can to reduce the spread of the corona virus while at the same time offering camaraderie and consolidating friendship. As the saying goes, ‘where there is a will, there is a way’. The picture below highlights what can be done even in challenging times. The Cubs produced this for our Harvest service

this year. It wasn’t a Parade Service this year due to ‘social distancing guidelines but the leaders sent us the poster for us to use at the Harvest Thanksgiving service. Since the resumption of worship service in July, we have been looking at ways to get the choir back to singing during services. Once the government’s restriction on choir singing was lifted, we worked tirelessly in getting the choir to singing during services – and they made their ‘post restriction debut’ at our abridged Harvest Thanksgiving. Another display of personal resilience and community camaraderie was demonstrated by Christine Ashdown, who has been an amazing fund raiser for various causes and charities. She recently teamed up With Mrs Heather Court to organise to organise a raffle in order to raise funds for St. Mark’s C of E school in Ramslye and St George’s Child care. In order to be ‘Covid-19 compliant’ winners were contacted via telephone. The picture on the right shows some of the raffle prizes. Even though we can be resilient and plan for many eventualities, most of us are at a loss as to how to plan for this Christmas. For some of us, the ‘rule of six’ means that we would need to order a smaller turkey, or settle for a chicken. As

a church, our plans for Christmas, should current restrictions continue, is to have a pre-recorded online Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, and a 10:00am service on Christmas day. The Midnight Mass will be cancelled this year. Of course, this is us planning way ahead but by the time you read this, who knows, things may have changed for the better. What ever your plans are for this Christmas, I hope that you would be in good health and that you would make some time to reflect on the fact that there is more to Christmas than ’feasting’ and ‘merry making’ I wish you all a peace-filled Christmas and hope that you would experience warm friendship and be able to interact with your loved ones in creative ways.

Rusthall blooms again The annual Tunbridge Wells in Bloom awards saw many winning entries from Rusthall residents, who are always prominent amongst the medal winners. Notable were Suzanne French, whose front garden in Southwood Road was the winner in the front garden category, and St Paul’s Court who won first prize in the street/ flats category. Resident Sheila Nash said, “Pat Chapman won a Silver Gilt for her balcony display and Maggie Woollard, our site manager, won Silver Gilt for her front garden on Common View. Huge congratulations all round! The judges were impressed with the more natural look at St Paul’s Court. This year they were particularly keen on conservation issues, which are of course increasingly a hot topic everywhere. A few weeds and some moss

Rusthall Life

for the insects were welcomed. Immaculate lawns are so last year!” Other winners include Grace Pennell and Wendy Growns from the Alms Houses who got a gold medal in best basket category, Alan and Moira Farmer who got gold for Best Planter, a Silver Gilt medal for Best Patio at St Paul’s Court, Alan and Moira Farmer and Grace at the Alms Houses gained Silver Gilt in the best front garden category where Suzanne was the winner, and a gold for Suzanne in best wildlife garden category. In the best allotment category Alan Farmer received a Silver Gilt and Gold was awarded to Paul Goldsmith, Marlene Lento and Suzanne French. Once again, Rusthall has proved itself to be full of exceptionally talented gardeners!


local council

News from

The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Christmas Toy Appeal 2020 The Mayor’s Toy Appeal is a charitable Appeal that provides Christmas presents to children of families in crisis, referred to us by Social Services, schools, churches and other agencies, allowing the children to experience the magic of Christmas, whilst enabling their parent a valuable respite from the pressures of the season. We seek to help children who, due to family circum-stances, would not receive Christmas gifts For example:

• Families where parents/carers suffer with mental and/or physical difficulties.

• Families experiencing emotional/stressful/abusive

DEPUTY CLERK Three people were invited for interview to fill the role of deputy clerk and the Parish Council are pleased to announce that Kevin Watson was the successful candidate. Kevin will start his new role in November/ December. There will be an article about him in the next edition of Rusthall Life.

ALLOTMENT COMPETITION 2020 The Rusthall Annual Allotment Competition was judged this year by Borough Cllr Joy Podbury and Borough Cllr Dave Funnell and here are the results.

SOUTHWOOD ROAD MAIN SITE Winner: Runner Up: The Best Scarecrow:

Phil Brooker Bebe Barratt and Alexa Marsilli Tom Barker

SOUTHWOOD ROAD EXTENSION Winner: Runner Up: The Best Scarecrow:

John Tutt Alan Farmer John Tutt

WICKHAM GARDENS Winner: Runner Up: The Best scarecrow:

Mr and Mrs Peters Linda Boyd Alison Kay


• Families in crisis due to bereavement or illness of a parent. • Children housed in temporary accommodation. • Families facing severe financial difficulty. Whilst we receive much valuable support, we receive no funding and rely very heavily on volunteers and donations of gifts and funds. It will run from Monday 9 November to Friday 11 December 2020. This year Tunbridge Wells Together is offering an amazing chance to win a £500 shopping voucher, all you have to do is buy a gift for the Toy Appeal of £10 or over from anywhere in the town centre, show your receipt to the staff at the Town Hall reception and you will be entered into the draw! You can also donate cash online and buy gifts from our Amazon Wish list, details available on the website at Thank you for your continued support of the 2020 Mayor’s Toy Appeal, unfortunately the number of children needing our help is rising every year.

For all your information on C-19 please read the following websites: There are also useful links on our website and the RVA website:

Finally, please look out for each other and STAY SAFE 22

Rusthall Life

Rusthall FC WELCOME TO RUSTHALL, ELLIE DUNN! We are delighted to welcome local Sports Therapist, Ellie Dunn to the club. Ellie is a qualified sports therapist, she qualified at the University of Chichester with a BShons degree in Sports Therapy and now runs her own massage and Sports Therapy business, On Point Bespoke Massage Therapy, based in Southborough.



Jimmy Anderson has secured the services of Sid Sollis, a 21 year old proven goalscorer, with plenty of experience! Sid Sollis has re-joined Rusthall under Jimmy Anderson! Sid, is no stranger to us at Rusthall, he played for the club a few years ago for our U18’s Kent Youth League side, which at the time, was managed by Jimmy Anderson. Sid is an entertaining young forward and will certainty bring some flair to our squad, as if we haven’t got plenty of that already!

Saturday 31st October vs Meridian VP (H) 3PM Saturday 7th November vs Stansfeld (H) 3PM Admission: £7 Adults, £4 Conc. & £1 U16’s

DOWNLOAD NHS COVID-19 APP We are now required to display the NHS QR code for our visitors to scan upon entry to the stadium and clubhouse area. The new NHS Covid-19 app will replace the evePASS app with immediate effect.

U9’s entertained Plumpton Athletic FC! Well done, lads!

All the information on the app including the link to enable you to download it on your smartphone can be found here: www.nhs. uk/apps-library/nhs-covid-19/ This will now be compulsory for anyone attending matches and training, as well as using the clubhouse area. A face covering should also be worn in the covered areas of the ground.

100 CLUB PRIZE FUND INCREASED! Thanks to your fantastic support, the prize fund in our 100 Club has increased! We’re delighted to confirm that the prize fund for our 100 Club has now increased! The jackpot has increased to £100 and we’ve added a further prize of £25!

1st Prize: £100

2nd Prize: £25

3rd Prize: £25

Join our 100 Club today to be in with a chance of winning one of these cash prizes, every month!

The money raised directly funds club-wide projects!

Rusthall Life





Agent on your doorstep! heThe Agent on your doorstep! Realistic advice & realistic fees Genuinely contactable 7 days a week even out of office hours Accompanied viewings Good local knowledge Family run business

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1 High Street, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8RL Tel: 01892 515188 Fax: 01892 548180 Email:

Profile for Rusthall Life

Rusthall life issue 29  

Rusthall life issue 29  


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