Rusthall Life Issue 47

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Rusthall Life

November - Decber 2023 | Issue 47

Your Village… Your Magazine

Distributed FREE throughout the village

Produced by Langton Life Ltd | Tel: 07532 339434 | Email:


RUSTHALL open to all

CHRISTMAS EVE 12 till 11.30pm CHRISTMAS DAY 12 till 2 pm BOXING DAY 12 till 6 pm


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Rusthall Life Supported by Rusthall Parish Council

Contents Local happenings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Rusthall Scout at Jamboree in Korea. . . . . . 6 Parish Council. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Adventures in Iceland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

local happenings Smashing times at Sunnyside Hall Every Sunday and Monday evening between 6.30pm and 8.30pm you are likely to find some local residents playing table tennis in Sunnyside Hall on Rusthall Road. They tend to be busiest on a Monday, but when I went along to visit them on the quieter Sunday evening I met Lois, David, Natalie, Phil and Barbara, who were happy to chat about the benefits of having a hall to play table tennis in Rusthall. “I’m very new here, and everyone’s been very welcoming,” Evelyn told me. “They don’t mind coaching and nobody seems to mind if you are a beginner player.” The group have a robot to help them hone their skills, and they normally have four tables out. “We do have fun with each other, we play singles and doubles – some of us smash a lot,” I’m told. Players range from the age of eleven to eighty, although at present children need to be accompanied by an adult. “We often have music playing, and tea, coffee and biscuits – it’s a relaxed atmosphere,” Lois says. The cost per session is £4. For more information contact

Stay Warm and Save too. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Useful contacts. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Local church. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Front cover: Photograph of Rusthall Common by Mark Howden

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 11th December 2023. Advertising: Rob Mauduit Editor: Jayne Sharratt Tel: 07532 339434 Director: Ed Langridge The publishers cannot be held responsible for the content of the editorial in this publication.

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Rusthall Life

Meeting Evelyn at the Children’s Centre It is always a pleasure to drop in at the Children’s Centre and chat to Evelyn Chambers of Harmony Children’s Centre in Rusthall, because of her enthusiasm and dedication to the difference the Children’s Centres make to parents and children in the village and surrounding areas. “We had 106 people come to our Teddy Bears Picnic on Southwood Road Recreation Ground,” she tells me, praising the support they received from the Borough Council and the school when putting it on. “We have a good relationship with Rusthall St Paul’s School – we share a site with them, so that’s really valuable.” At the centre they have a regular Stay and Play session every Tuesday from 9.30am to 11am and a Baby Time session on Wednesdays for pre-walkers from 10am11.30am with no need to book for either session. They also run bookable Baby and You courses for new parents on a regular basis – for the full schedule look at Tunbridge Wells District Children’s Centres on Facebook or contact them on 0300 042 0892 or email


local happenings On 2nd September the Rusthall Bonfire and Fete Committee organised a Back to School themed quiz night at Rusthall Club. Before questions commenced a heartwarming supper was served. Eleven teams took part, with quiz rounds named after school subjects. The winning team was called ‘Does Grey Matter?’ with 53 points, and for an extra prize, each team decorated an old shirt and modelled it in a fashion show! It was a hugely enjoyable social occasion and raised an impressive £465 towards the fireworks.

Can you help deliver Rusthall Life? We love our team of volunteers who help us get our community magazine to every household each month, and we are looking for a few more to join us. If you live in or near Grange Road, Grange Gardens or Wickham Gardens and would be happy to help with this once every two months, we would be so grateful. Email Paul Gripper on paulgripper@ for more information.

Rusthall Life Your Village… Your Magazine

September - October 2023 | Issue 46

Village Quiz

Distributed FREE throughout the village

Produced by Langton Life Ltd | Tel: 07532 339434 | Email:

New parent and toddler group for Rusthall?

Real heroes in an hour of need Rusthall resident and regular Community Larder volunteer Liz Goddard got in touch with us to pass on her thanks for help she received when she had a fall recently. “To the three wonderful gentlemen from Harman Scaffolding who rescued me when I fell and broke my hip on the corner of Nellington Road – THANK YOU! I hate to think how long I would have lain there if they had not stopped and got me and my dogs home. Real heroes and very much appreciated.” It’s always great to be reminded that most people want to help others as much as they can, and we are glad that Liz is now so recovered we were able to photograph her back at work at with her friends at the larder.


I first met Rusthall resident Liz Mankelow in a church hall parent and toddler group called Twinkly Stars when our youngest children were toddlers. It was a space for parents and carers to bond over cups of tea, biscuits, and the highs, lows, joys, frustrations and anxieties of looking after young children. The power of community to support new parents and their children cannot be underestimated – in my own case, the networks I formed when my children were babies continue to support, enrich, and catch me when I fall, fifteen years later. There is still a wonderful Children’s Centre in Rusthall – although Kent County Council are consulting on its future – but the proliferation of volunteer led groups that used to exist a decade ago have gone. “I would love to start a new parent and toddler group in Rusthall,” Liz told me recently. She was inspired by her friend, Josephine Gamble, who died this summer. “I helped Josie run the toddler group in Langton Green years ago, and I decided to volunteer there again to keep it going as a tribute to her, but I would also love to set one up in Rusthall too.” We have been working with St Paul’s Church Centre in the village to build on the group that used to be brilliantly run by Ann Softley before Covid. While details are still being finalised and there is some administration to do before we can get the group running again, we would love to hear from you if you would be interested in coming along with your children, or volunteering. We may also need some toy donations. Please let us know what you think – email us at jaynesharratt1977@ and

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Dear dog walkers – no safety in numbers! We received this letter from a local dog walker, who has concerns about the number of professional dog walkers she sees in the woods with large numbers of dogs and wants dog owners to be aware of the potential dangers of this practice. There are so many new dog walking businesses which have started in the local area, all using the woodlands and green spaces around Langton Green, Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells. An increase in dog attacks on people and other dogs over the past few years has been reported in the news recently. What follows are some considerations I think it is worth dog walkers and owners bearing in mind. Packs should be kept to under six dogs. Dog walkers often walk together which can mean ten to twelve dogs in a pack. This can be intimidating for many people and scary for some children when meeting them. Walking with a large pack of dogs is dangerous when meeting horses, especially unexpectedly, and this can be frightening for the horse and the rider. Dogs should be put on leads near horses or any livestock. Putting a large number of dogs back on their leads can take time and is not always possible when meeting horses or other animals unexpectedly. Some owners are unaware that their dogs are being walked in a large pack and should always ask their potential dog walker how many they are walking in one go. Professional dog walking insurance does not cover more than six dogs for obvious safety reasons. Some of our woodlands are being abused by dog walkers with large packs of dogs. Dog faeces being a big problem as it’s not possible to track where their dogs go with a large pack/or possible to carry that many poo bags! Safety should be at the forefront of every professional dog walkers mind, things can go wrong and with a large pack of dogs in tow, it is not possible to react quickly. A local dog walker

Rusthall Life


local happenings Rusthall Scout at Jamboree in Korea Last year you may have seen me at the village fete in June fundraising for the World Scout Jamboree, that I attended this August. The 25th World Scout Jamboree is a gathering of scouts from almost every nation in the world, all camping together in South Korea, with 40,000 young people and leaders and 10,000 international volunteers who made it possible. Although, as some people may have seen in the news, the jamboree didn’t quite go how everyone expected it to because of a heat wave, the experience I had was incomparable to anything I have ever done before. What had started as 108 strangers from Kent, making up 3 units, has transitioned into making some of the best friends I could have ever imagined over the last two years, who I got to experience all the highs and lows alongside. Although the original plan was to spend about two weeks camping on the jamboree site and only about 1 week in Seoul, due to the circumstances I spent about 2.5 weeks in Seoul, the capital of South Korea. Our time on site being cut short was definitely a disappointment to everyone but it did allow us to experience all types of culture through street markets, museums, local shops, youth groups, pop up K-pop concerts and even visiting the demilitarised zone at the border with North Korea (and I don’t think anyone was complaining about the 4-star hotel or buffet breakfast either). However, one of the nicest things about being in Seoul for me was how welcoming the Koreans were towards all the scouts there, no matter their nationality, with ‘Jamboree’ being exclaimed cheerfully at us at least ten times a day travelling around the city.

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Despite being short, our time on site was incredible, although after 20 minutes it already felt like our tent had turned into a beach from all the sand! Everywhere you went there was someone from a different country, with our neighbours consisting of some Swedes, Norwegians and Indonesians. The atmosphere there was the friendliest I have ever experienced, with both language barriers and cultural differences completely irrelevant as everyone interacted and smiled, regardless of whether you actually knew what the other people were saying or not. On our final night we spent the evening with a Korean unit who we had invited to our camp for dinner, and even though the communication was challenging, the fact everyone is a scout meant that we all had something in common, meaning we could try (with a bit of miming to help) to get to know the people we got to attend this amazing event with. There were definitely times of stress too, especially when nine teenagers were left trying to cook for 40 people in just half an hour, having had to get up at 5am to go and queue for the food, but no one ever let this detract from the thrill of the experience we had, with our unit forming a sort of family that supported everyone. The World Scout Jamboree was such a wonderful experience for me, having helped me grow my confidence beyond what I thought was possible. It’s opened my eyes to everything scouts has to offer. This went beyond just the weekly group meetings, as well as allowed me to meet some of the most inspiring people I know, and so I am incredibly grateful for all those who helped support me to get there. Amy Schipper

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local happenings

John Carter 1944 – 2023 ‘One of the Rusthall Life team’ Many people locally will remember John for his infectious enthusiasm for life and his willingness to always be there to help when needed. He sadly passed away in August this year. For many years, John in his retirement was the ‘Adman’ on Rusthall Life and Langton Life magazines. Such was his enthusiasm for the job that shopkeepers and businesses used to run for cover when they saw John coming because he was determined to get them to advertise, whether they wanted to or not! John’s working life was in print, that’s why he fitted in so well to the Langton Life team. He was born in Suffolk – his family moving to South London before moving down to Somerset, somewhere John really loved. After full-time education, he got an apprenticeship with a large printing concern, LTA Robinson. LTA were eventually bought by Sun Engraving – one of the largest print organisations in the country. They produced the famous Rupert Bear books which have now become valuable collectors’ items. John started as a retoucher, then in repro and eventually into sales. His brief was to keep enough work coming in to keep the machines running 24/7! John loved his music – a passion he shared with his lifelong partner, Pam. His granddaughter recently sent John a selfie she had taken with Roger Daltry of The Who – one of John’s great heroes. We will miss John – a friend to everyone, and we send our sincerest condolences to Pam and to all of his extended family. Ed Langridge

Journey of an Arts Collective Rusthall artist Suzy Philips is one of the founders of an arts collective whose TWells Gallery will have a pop-up in the Royal Victoria Place this Christmas. Suzy tells me about the journey they have been on to reach this point. “Back in 2012, a number of local artists from Rusthall, Speldhurst and Tunbridge Wells got together for mutual support and formed the Creatives Network, meeting monthly on the Pantiles. They had pop-ups in the shopping centre, then the lease of a shop in Monson Rd where they created the Arts Collective -TWells Gallery. Starting with ten they increased to a membership of twenty-six art and craft makers from across Kent and Sussex, and they have operated from a number of locations. For the last two years they have had successful Christmas periods in Royal Victoria Place, and hope to repeat their success again this year. “Customers want something different and being produced locally by the people who can explain their process is an added bonus” said Suzy Phillips who has been involved in the journey from the start. With the group expanding, this June they decided to set up an Un-associated Company – TWells Creative Arts Collective. The new Collective will open their next Pop-Up shop on Saturday 11 th November in Royal Victoria Place, on the second floor. Everything on sale will have been made by the fourteen members who will be present, sharing the manning of the shop and will be available to talk about their work to customers. TWells Creatives Arts will be open daily from 11 November to 23 December. Their lovely venue will showcase a fabulous range of


talented artwork including Ceramics, Fused Glass, Silver, Gold and Natural Stone Jewellery, Paintings, Photography and Textiles. The unit will be dressed for Christmas and will add a sparkle to RVP’s own Xmas décor. Their journey continues ……

Rusthall Life

Rusthall Life


local happenings

Finite: the Climate of Change In September, Rusthall residents Tina Cook and Paul Froome organised a showing of the film Finite: the Climate of Change, at Trinity Theatre, and I wanted to meet up with them to find out more about local people who have become activists for protecting nature. “The film was a chance for us to show that ordinary people can make a difference with their actions,” Tina tells me. “There are so many threats to nature right now, and if you care about that, it’s easy to feel powerless and forget the impact we can have when we come together. This film shows local communities winning more protection for their environment - which is really inspiring.” More than 100 people came along to watch the film, which tells the story of two local struggles against massive new open cast coal mines, one in villages in County Durham, and the other in villages in western Germany. Afterwards there was a Q&A with locally based activists, who emphasised that change is possible with others in our area. Philip Wheeler, Rusthall resident and a member of the panel after the film, said “It was genuinely encouraging to see so much support in Tunbridge Wells for really quite radical action - it’s good to know that there are other people around who believe our nature is special and worth our time.” Paul adds “I walk our dog in Rusthall Common almost every day and I know how special our local area is; I’m personally not someone who wants to get arrested, but if a big company came for Rusthall Common I might think twice!” The evening was very positive, with lots of attendees from all walks of life signing up to local campaign groups like Extinction Rebellion. In

the Q&A Philip was keen to emphasise that a movement is made up of a wide-range of actions, “I really believe that a diversity of actions creates stronger outcomes, so of course don’t do anything you don’t believe in - but if you also love nature then please do take some action - there are lots of things to do!” Tina and Paul will continue to organise local pushes to care for our planet, and will always welcome any support. Tina leaves me with this thought, “there is very little time left for us to reduce the irreversible damage we are causing to nature, and to ourselves. For every last person who cares, getting our voices heard is the best chance we have to make a difference - and there’s no time to waste!” To find out more about local nature and climate campaigns contact

Reclaiming the night again

Uncommonly beautiful

When Lauren Brook and I decided to organise a Reclaim the Night walk from Rusthall to the Pantiles on 25th November, the UN day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, we had no idea where it would lead. The community embraced our cause, and over fifty women walked to protest our right to the freedom to walk wherever we want, at whatever time we want. In the year that has followed there have sadly been reminders that we are not being over dramatic when we wonder if we are safe in public spaces. There have been incidents of indecent exposure, and an attack on a woman as she walked home from High Brooms Station. We are more determined to walk than ever – and our second Reclaim the Night Walk will take place on 25th November 2023 at 7pm. We hope that the original Rusthall walk will be joined by walks from different locations in town, meeting for friendship and talks on the Pantiles. We have been talking to women from the Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club about how through team sports they empower each other, and this makes them feel stronger when they are alone. If you would like to take part in a walk, or help in any way, you can email us at reclaimthenightrusthall@gmail. com or follow us on Instagram @ reclaimthenighttw , Twitter @ reclaimtw or Facebook @Reclaim the Night Tunbridge Wells

Local resident and volunteer on Rusthall Common Mark Howden sent us this beautiful photograph taken on the Common early one morning during the early autumn heatwave.

Jayne Sharratt


Rusthall Life

local happenings Sharing the benefits of an accessible allotment This autumn I met with Rusthall Parish Council Chair Liz Ellicott to find out more about the All Ability Allotment Garden project the parish council has got off the ground after receiving a grant from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The new garden will be in an area of the Southwood Road allotment that hasn’t been used for a while and is close to an access gate, where access will be improved by the installation of a dropped kerb and a driveway into the allotment. The garden has a small copse for shade from the sun and will contain four raised planting beds on legs so that wheelchairs can fit underneath, bringing users close to the soil. “It’s been a real group effort between the members of the allotment committee,” Liz tells me. “Paul Gripper, Suzanne French, Doug Smith and I divided the work up between us to design the garden and research the costs of the soil, beds, water tank and driveway so that we could apply to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for the funding. We are so pleased that our application was successful because it means that the joy and satisfaction of growing your own food and flowers can be experienced by everyone in the community, including those with mobility limitations. The parish council wants the spirit of cooperation that has brought the project this far to continue long after it has been built. “We want it to feel like a very communal project that the residents who use it will collaborate in together. People will be able to book themselves in for a period of time, and any produce grown can be shared equally between the people who grew it.” It is planned that the work on the allotment will be done by the end of November, and the scheme will be up and running in the Spring of

2024. “There could be space for forty people to use the garden every week, and we will approach people through coffee mornings, the lunch club and Rusthall Life to try and reach as many people as possible who could benefit from it,” Liz says. The plans don’t end there. “This is the first stage, but we hope to develop the whole area over time – we’re really excited about the ways this project will make allotments accessible to all and can’t wait to see how it develops.” Email if you are interested in finding out more. Jayne Sharratt

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Residents have been in contact recently to complain about the amount of dog owners who are not picking up after their dog at the moment, and so it seems worth repeating this reminder from the Parish Council’s July update. Much as our furry friends are adorable their excrement is unfortunately a danger to health and it is extremely anti-social. Whilst rare, contact with dog excrement can cause toxocariasis – a nasty infection that can lead to dizziness, nausea, asthma and even blindness or seizures. While most dog owners are caring, responsible individuals, there are still some people who do not clean up after their pets. Anyone who fails to do so can be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100 and if the case goes to court this could cost the owner or person in charge of the animal up to £1,000. When walking your dog please do remember to take appropriate bags for collecting its faeces and dispose of it in the appropriate bins around the parish or better still please take it home.

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Parish Council

News from

Local Police presence We are delighted to share the news that the Police PCSO’s will be increasing their presence in the village and we have offered them the use the Rackliff to help them when they are here. Should you need to contact the police in an emergency please call 999. If the matter is not urgent please contact 101. Allotment Update Following a well thought through proposal by an allotment holder and non-voting Committee member, Suzanne French, the Council applied for and were successful in securing a grant from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to support the installation of a new All Ability Garden at our Southwood Road Allotments site. The garden will contain raised planting beds for use by wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. Further, to support easy access to the garden, the Council has agreed to fund the installation of a new dropped kerb and driveway from Southwood Road. This will allow residents who require transport to the garden the ability to be dropped off and collected with ease. Following some initial teething problems, all allotment holders should now have received notice reminding them of their annual rent, which is due no later than 31st October 2023. Any who have not are being asked to email The Parish Council has a few allotment vacancies at our Wickham Gardens allotments. If you are interested in one please email Lastly, the Committee would like to express their sincere thanks to Leon Banks for his longstanding commitment and work as nonvoting member representing Wickham Gardens Allotments. Leon has decided to “pass the trowel” but we welcome David Clover as his successor.

Environment Committee Update Philip Wheeler is also standing down but from the Environment Committee. We would like to thank him very much for all his help. We now need to fill the vacancy he has left though and would be very interested to hear from anyone interested. If this is something Philip Wheeler you might like to do please contact Linda at; Speedwatch Update The summary for August and September is as follows: Number of Sessions this period = 9 Total Vehicles exceeding limit and referred to the Police = 132 Maximum Speed recorded in 20 limit = 39 mph (+95%) Other updates Grants allocated - The Parish Council has allocated a grant to the Bonfire Society to help support the costs of the children’s entertainment at the summer fete. The Parish Council has also agreed to pay for Christmas lights in the High Street again this year. New bench for Common View – The Commons Conservators have kindly donated a bench for residents to use alongside the path from Lower Green Road to Rusthall High Street. Badger damage - The wall on Lower Green Road, which was damaged by badgers last year, has now been repaired by the County Council.

Next Full Council Meetings Monday 13th November 2023 Monday 11th December 2023 Further information on the Parish Council and activities in the village are available on our website at:


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Adventures in Iceland with Tunbridge Wells District Explorers

Before we arrived in Iceland we had lots of excitement, expectations, and uncertainty. Hearing of a fairly recent volcanic eruption in June, the expected cold and fear of mozzies (which was a very valid fear, due to the swarms on the campsite), but also the lack of night. As we arrived in Iceland you could instantly tell the difference from the smell of rotten eggs (due to all the sulphur from the volcanoes), and there was a cold biting feeling in the air, which wasn’t especially helpful for my asthma. It was a beautiful journey through the Icelandic landscape, which is very barren with minimal trees and is very flat, apart from the kilometres high mountains all over the place. We travelled through a mountain range to Úlfljótsvatn Scout campsite situated on the second coldest lake in Iceland – it’s the most northern scout campsite in the world. Throughout the week we went to many places in the southwest area – this is my brief daily diary: Day 1: Sólheimajökull Glacier, where we walked up onto the ice sheet, learnt about its origins and how it changes. We drank some of the pure glacier water which was very good and even hung over a moulin (a deep hole into a glacier). Day 2: White water rafting down the Hvíta River. We did several activities on the water from cliff jumping to piracy of the other rafts, throwing crew overboard and free bobbing down the rapids. We all gathered up in a hot tub at the end. Day 3: We went to the secret lagoon which is a natural hot spring and then continued with the Golden Circle tour which included Gullfoss Waterfall, Hot Spring Geysers and Thingvellir national park (which is the ever growing split between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates). These were all truly beautiful and incredible to see the geological miracle that is Icelandic scenery.

Day 4: Reykjavík! This was the visit to the Icelandic capital city housing a third of the country’s population. We had some free time and visited the Icelandic Parliament building (known as Alþingishúsið), Reykjavík city hall and Tjörnin lake. Finally, we went on a whale watching tour where we saw quite a few minke whales, and puffins too. Day 5: We went on a south coast tour, starting at the LAVA centre which records volcanos, earthquakes and other natural disasters for study and preparation. Continuing on we went to two different waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss, which we walked behind and got very soggy, and Skógafoss, which were both incredible being able to get so close to the plunge pools, unique yet similar. And finally, the black beach Reynisfjara which is one of the filming sites of such films as Star Wars: Rogue One. Day 6: We first went on a hike up into the Reykjadalur hot spring valley, where we also bathed in the hot river, and then returning to Thingvellir National Park to do some snorkelling in Silfra which is at the mouth of the coldest lake in Iceland. Leaving the campsite at 3am we stayed up all night (If you can call it that given that the sun never fully set the entire night due to the latitude of Iceland). We sang songs at the campfire and eventually had to depart from the incredible week we had in Iceland, a truly astonishing and incredible country with amazing geography and geology and very friendly people and some lovely architecture in the capital too. I was able to be immersed with Icelandic music, listening to it throughout the trip and even now back at home. Joseph Day-George

Reykjadalur hot spring valley


Rusthall Life

NEXT MEETINGS 25th November | 30th December | 27th January 9am till 12pm

Rusthall URC Hall, Manor Road, Rusthall

Beautifully Bespoke Garden Rooms

Your local bakery is now offering fresh milk, eggs, butter and local cheeses. Watch us turn into a mini Deli in the next few months. We also specialise in grazing tables and grazing boards for your special occasion.

Now open on Sundays !

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Rusthall Life

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local happenings Stay Warm and Save too: Rusthall Winter Energy Tips As the leaves change and the chill creeps in, it’s time to prepare for the winter months. While winter can bring cozy nights by the fire and maybe a sprinkling of snowfall, it can also lead to increased energy consumption and higher bills. I’m sharing here a few energy-saving tips that can help you stay warm and comfortable while reducing your carbon footprint and there’s a tool we’re especially lucky to have here in Rusthall! 1. Seal the Gaps: Inspect your doors and windows for any drafts and seal them draught excluders. This simple step can prevent heat from escaping and keep the cold air out. 2. Optimise Heating: Lower your thermostat a degree or two and wear warmer clothing indoors - but don’t drop lower than about 18 degrees if at all possible. You can also invest in a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically when you’re not at home. 3. Insulate Your Home: Ensure your home is properly insulated, especially in the loft and walls. Adding insulation can significantly reduce heat loss and save you money - if you can afford the initial cost. 4. Use Energy-Efficient Lighting: Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs. They last longer and use significantly less energy.

To take advantage of this offer, simply contact the Parish Council to book a time for your free survey. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain insights into your home’s energy efficiency and make informed decisions about how to make your living space more comfortable and costeffective during the winter months. Almost everyone who has used this facility has learned something, Email to find a time. With these energy-saving tips and the Parish Council’s thermal imaging survey, you can stay warm and cozy this winter. Together, we can make our village more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly while enjoying all the beauty and charm winter has to offer.

5. Unplug Appliances: Even when turned off, many devices draw power. Unplug chargers, appliances, and electronics when not in use to reduce “phantom” energy consumption. Consider a smart meter installation so that you know exactly what power is being used in real time. 6. Maintain Your Heating: Schedule a professional checkup for your heating system to ensure it’s running efficiently. Prevention is cheaper than cure! To help you with your energy-saving efforts, our Parish Council is offering a fantastic opportunity. The Rusthall Parish Council are providing free thermal imaging surveys using our state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera. These surveys can help identify areas of heat loss in your home, making it easier to target improvements.

Merry and bright Christmas dates for your diary It may only be November, but it isn’t too soon to start to plan your festive cheer. Saturday 18th November - Autumn Fair at Rusthall St Paul’s Church Centre 10am-2pm and the URC Hall between 10am and 12.30pm -a fundraiser for all the church family, expect lots of stalls, a big raffle, secrets room, children’s games, refreshments and lunch. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November - Hospice in the Weald Christmas Fair, 10am-4pm – support our local charity by going to their fair, when there will be lots of makers stalls in marquees in the grounds. Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th December Space2Make Festive Market at Buckhurst Works, Bells Yew Green 10am-4pm – Well there’s nothing to say you can’t go to two Christmas Fairs in one weekend, right? And this will be a good one – organised by Rusthall residents Danny Hayter and Alexa Marsilli, featuring many local makers including a few from Rusthall – we are a very creative village!


Saturday 2nd December Big Rusthall Christmas market and light switch on. The market will run 1pm to 5pm at the URC Hall and feature a Santa’s grotto run by the lovely parents of Rusthall St Paul’s. From 6pm there will be the usual singalong and switching on of the Christmas tree lights. This is where your Rusthall Christmas starts. Friday 8th – Sunday 10th December Fern Hollow Christmas Pop-up 11am-8pm 2 Manor Road. Potter and artist Felicity Williams will be hosting this event in the studio in her garden. Come and be warm with a glass of mulled wine and a fire and find pottery and other gifts for sale by Felicity and Louise Caney, as well as dried flower wreaths by local florist Velvet. See ‘Meet the Makers’ opposite.

Rusthall Life

USEFUL CONTACTS Rusthall Guide Group etc. Daphne Pilcher 01892 521691

Manufacturers of quality curtains, roman blinds, cushions and all types of soft furnishings. Established over 45 years, we can assist you in all aspects from inception to realisation. Visit our showroom and browse through our library of samples. Call 07957 811 589 to book an appointment.

The Black and White Shop, Groombridge Hill, Groombridge, TN3 9QH

INDOOR SEATING & COVERED GARDEN Lovely Local and Fresh Food and Drink

Freshly baked available

Wednesday - Saturday

01892 457007

I asked Rusthall’s Felicity Williams and Louise Caney to tell me more about what inspires them. “I make predominantly stoneware kitchen items, like shallow bowls, coffee cups, scoops and cereal bowls,” says Felicity. “I take inspiration from the forms, patterns and colours of treasured possessions collected over the years. Also a painter I’m a lover of colour and texture. I particularly enjoy applying my creativity to producing items that can be useful every day.” Louise says, “I’m inspired by nature and all the incredible changes it brings! I love to interpret the texture and form of seed pods in my work. I began at the clay studio with lessons, making mostly practical household pieces but more recently I’ve been venturing into more sculptural pieces.”

LITTLE ONES with a cup of bottomless squash


Meet the makers

Rusthall Life

SANDWICHES Salads & Soup





BREAKFAST served all day everyday

Guitar setups, repairs, wiring and general friendly advice

07891 719 001

Rusthall Village Association Sue White 01892 458695 Allotments Parish Clerk 01892 520161 Parish Chair Liz Ellicott Parish Clerk Alison Stevens 01892 520161 Manor Road Pre-School 07972 739852 St Paul’s Church Parish Office 01892 521447 Rusthall United Reformed Church Church Secretary – Mary Nolze 01892 536727 Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells Commons Ranger Daniel Colborne 07860 750597 The Molyneux Almshouses 07504 839548 Rusthall Football Club Jockey Farm 07897427522 Rusthall St Paul’s School 01892 520582 Rusthall Scout Group Beavers, cubs and scouts Rusthall Medical Centre 01892 515142 St Paul’s Church Fellowship Zillah Witt 523028 Out of hours medical service 111 Emergency Services 999 Samaritans 116 123 Commons Conservators 01892 554250 Police (Non-emergency) 101 Rusthall Cinema Club Eugene Gardner Rusthall Lunch Club Mrs Ros Rodwell 01892 618538 Harmony Children’s Centre 03000 418059 Sunnyside Pre-school 07534 810779 Rusthall Library Bonfire and Fete Committee

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


local church

News from Rusthall St Paul’s Church Warm greetings to you all at this rather cold season. The year seems to have gone really quickly and, for me, it has been very busy too. As I write, we have just celebrated Harvest – for which the Parish Church was beautifully decorated and nearly filled to capacity. Rusthall St Paul’s CE VA School also celebrated Harvest at the Parish Church, and their service was well attended by parents, guardians and well-wishers. By the time you read this, it will be getting very close to Remembrance. As is now our tradition, we will be having a short service at the War Memorial at 10:45am on Saturday 11th November to commemorate Armistice Day. 0n Sunday the 12th, we will have our Remembrance Service at the Parish Church. It would be great to see many of you at these special services. Writing about special services, in preparation for Christmas, we will be having a series of services. At 6:30 pm on Sunday 3rd December we will have our Service of Music and Readings for Advent at the Parish Church. On Sunday 10th December, we will have our Christingle service at 10:00am at the Church Centre; On Sunday the 17th of December, we will have our joint Crib service at 10:00am and our Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 6:30pm at the Parish Church. Midnight Mass is, of course, on Christmas Eve at the Parish

Church. Again, I hope that you will be able to attend at least some of these services. We are hoping to sing carols in the pubs in Rusthall at mutually convenient dates and times. We will also be singing Carols and sharing Mince Pies and Mulled wine in the Village, hopefully at 10am on Saturday 16th December. I will definitely see some of you at some of these services, and an event you wouldn’t want to miss is the Parish Fayre on Saturday 18th November at the Church Centre and URC Hall. Christmas gives us the opportunity to show our love and care for our family, friends, and members of the community in which we live. For some members in our community Christmas is not ‘the season to be jolly’ but I hope that we will all seek ways of making one another feel ‘special, valued and included’ not only in the Christmas season. As a church community we continue to do our bit to ensure that everyone in Rusthall feels valued and heard. In that vein, I am pleased to tell you that we have been able to get a regular team of volunteers to tend the New Churchyard on Nellington Road – and I’m sure that those of you who visit your loved ones or go for walks through there will be thrilled by this news. Here are photos of some of the work that they did recently. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and hope that you too would experience the love and care that you show to others.

Sunnyside harnesses a brighter future Since April 14th, Sunnyside Community Hall has embarked on an eco-friendly money-saving journey by installing 21 solar panels. This green initiative has already yielded impressive results, transforming not only the hall’s energy consumption but also its financial outlook. The impact has been substantial, with a remarkable 88.5% reduction in electricity consumption from the grid. The solar panels are an even wiser investment with energy prices going up, Eugene Gardner of Sunnyside Community Hall tells me. With every ray of sunshine, they anticipate substantial savings on their energy bill throughout the year. Moreover, he says their commitment to sustainability goes further. The remaining 11.5% of energy the hall draws from the grid is sourced from a carbon-neutral provider, ensuring Sunnyside’s environmental footprint is negligible. Good for the purse and the planet! The installation of the solar panels, along with two batteries and an inverter, came at a cost of £14,833. Sunnyside Hall was fortunate to secure a grant of £6,500 from Kent County Council, which significantly offset the initial expenses. The remaining bill will pay for itself fairly quickly! This venture benefits the environment and the financial sustainability of our beloved Sunnyside Hall, he tells me - please look out for all of their activities and come on down to Rusthall Community Cinema! Sunnyside Hall is a shining example of responsible energy consumption in our village - and I’m sure Eugene would love to chat more with anyone interested in their progress.


Rusthall Life

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Why not come for a fun half hour and have a family or kids Christmas minishoot done. I’m offering slots for families of up to 5 on weekends throughout November, and for babies during the week. I have a garden studio next to Langton Primary School. I look forward to welcoming you. Packages start at just £72 (inc. VAT)


Experienced and affordable Unisex Hairdresser to the comfort of your home!

Call Sarah for an appointment

07787 355019 Local areas covered

Call: 07811 132364 Email:

Visit the Events and Seasonal Shoots section of my website at:


Rusthall Life on audio

Yoga for Everyone. Beginners Welcome Drop in for £12 or 5 Class Pass for £50 or pay what you can. For more information: 07775 610448 |

An audio version of Rusthall Life is available for anyone who has difficulty reading. It is read by Ian Cowdroy, who for many years has been working with the Kent Association for the Blind’s Talking News Service. If you have reading difficulties and would like an audio version of Rusthall Life or Langton Life please contact We professionally record each issue and email it to recipients.

Yoga Classes Flow and Restore Yoga MONDAY 7-8 PM

Rusthall United Reform Church

Flow and Restore Yoga TUESDAY 10.30-11.30 AM

St Pauls Church Hall, Rusthall

Gentle Restorative Yoga THURSDAY 6.30-7.30 PM AM Sunnyside Hall, Rusthall

Starting school in September 2024? Come along to our open day at Rusthall St Paul’s Primary School on Thursday 9th November – email the school office at rusthalloffice@ for more information. Local parent Sheenah tells us, “After living in Rusthall for several years when the time came for our son Jack to start school, we visited St Paul’s. What we saw reminded us of the primary schools we went to when we were young, a welcoming and happy place at the heart of our village. It was the best decision we made for our son’s education and happiness. There’s nothing nicer than walking him to school and him greeting his friends and their families on our way. We’re proud to be part of the St Paul’s family and Jack’s smile shows that.”

Rusthall Life

Singing for fun On the last Tuesday of every month, a friendly group of people get together in the Rusthall United Reformed Church between 2pm and 3pm to enjoy singing. Singing for Fun was originally thought up to help anyone with dementia but it was quickly realised that it is a great group for anyone. So we are an all-inclusive fun group for all ages! We sing a wide variety of songs. Everyone is welcome. The emphasis is on fun. Details from Jan on 01892 529100 The next Singing for Fun will be on Tuesday 28th November.


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