Rusthall Life Issue 49

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Produced by Langton Life Ltd | Tel: 07532 339434 | Email: Distributed FREE throughout the village MarchApril 2024 | Issue 49 Your Village… Your Magazine
Rusthall Club is open to members and non-members. Draught Lagers from £3.60 Med Glass Wine £3.60 Guinness £4.10 Harvey’s Best Bitter £3.90 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 the RUSTHALL open to all Open at 4pm Mon-Fri Y OURLOCAL COMMUNITY PU B

Playtime at St Paul’s starts strong

A new parent and toddler group started in January at Rusthall St Paul’s Church Centre on Wednesday mornings from 9am-11am. Liz Mankelow had the idea to start it. “I knew how much groups like this meant to me when my children were small. They are a place to make friends in your own community, and that’s so important in making sure that you and your children have a support network for years to come. Being a parent can be lonely if you don’t have anyone to share a cup of tea and talk through your worries with.” After talking it through with Jayne Sharratt, who she met at Twinkly Stars toddler group when their daughters were babies, they decided to make it happen and went to talk to the church. “We would never have got if o the ground so quickly without the help and support of Ginette, at St Paul’s Church. Ann Softley is also very important to the group’s success –she ran the toddler group in the church before the Covid-19 epidemic and so a lot of the toys and equipment were already there, and as a childminder she has a lot of valuable experience on how to run a group smoothly! Her input has been vital,” Jayne said. “The group has been so warmly welcomed by the community and we really want to thank all our volunteers who help us. I’m so glad Liz suggested we do this – over twenty families come to every session so there’s clearly a need for it and Liz is so great, her storytime and nursery rhyme singing is really heartwarming to see.”

21 years of Airport Car Services

Rusthall resident Ian Dolwin started his airport car service in the August of 2003 with himself as the only driver – fast forward twenty-one years and the business has gone from strength to strength, and they now employ eleven drivers and have a range of luxury vehicles. Ian is an established part of the community, having lived in Rusthall for seventeen years, and he has advertised with Langton Life and Rusthall Life regularly over many years. “I enjoy the village community spirit,” Ian tells us. “Especially useful are the parade of high street shops, and St Paul’s Primary School and the Zone Youth Club were very useful to my son growing up. With many customers in Langton Green, Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells, I enjoy being local for early morning transfers.” Congratulations to all at Airport Car Services on their twenty-first birthday – it seems certain there will be many more to come.

local happenings Contact
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 April 2024. Advertising: Rob Mauduit
Jayne Sharratt Tel: 07532 339434 Director: Ed Langridge The publishers cannot be held responsible for the content of the editorial in this publication. Follow us on Social Media @RusthallLife Local happenings 3 Rusthall’s bonfire queen 8 Meet the people that look after our commons 11 Parish Council 12 Useful contacts 17 Rusthall’s School fundraising for new play equipment for the playground ...... 18 View Rusthall Life online at Rusthall Life 3
Rusthall Life
cover: Happy Valley, Rusthall Common Supported by Rusthall Parish Council Contents

Burns’ Night quiz raises £500

On 27th January the Bonfire and Fete Committee hosted a Burns’ Night Quiz at the St Paul’s Church Centre hall to raise money for the fireworks in October. Burns’ Night is traditionally the night in January that honours the life and work of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, and many of the quiz questions took a Scottish theme – who knew that the national animal of Scotland could be so legendary? Luckily we had Sue Hope on our team, and she had done her revision well. The delicious food was down to the hard work of Ann Softley and Lisa Coghlan and team – there was a choice of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties or sausages, and vegan options, as well as many puddings. Hilarity was often the order of the day, one quizzer said she hadn’t stopped laughing all evening. The backwards ra e was fiercely contested, and when quiz master Richard Shaw decided he would bid to donate two trays of leftover haggis to me, I nearly lost my sense of humour…but hung onto it and happily managed to give the Scottish delicacy to some more grateful recipients before I went home.

If you would like to take part in a future Bonfire and Fete quiz, they are very welcoming, popular, and entertaining evenings – look out for the St George’s Night quiz, coming soon in April. Contact

Celebrating women over forty Limbering up for 2024 at Rusthall Cricket Club

Photographer Jade Tinkler, who lives on the borders of Rusthall and Langton Green, is bringing back her successful Forty over Forty project exhibition next month, featuring portraits of local women. For those who missed it in Fordcombe last year, or want the chance to see it again, it will be in the centre of Tunbridge Wells during March. “The exhibition champions women over the age of forty, celebrating their strength, beauty, wisdom and humour,” Jade told us. “Portraits are paired with honest interviews, helping women over the age of forty to feel represented, and inspiring men, women and children to understand and appreciate the beauty of ageing and learn from the wisdom of the women involved.”

One of the portraits is of Rusthall resident and local business owner Jennifer Cooper. I asked her how it feels to see her portrait. “I have never liked photos of myself, and whenever I have had to have headshots for work they have been an ordeal to get through,” Jenny admits. “Jade managed to change all that - for the first time I relaxed and was myself in front of the camera. When she showed me what has become my favourite picture I burst into tears. I look radiant. I think that is what Jade does, she reveals to us all that we are beautiful no matter what we think. One of the most powerful aspects of the exhibition is reading everyone’s story, and how many women say that they wish they had been more confident when they were younger. So much wasted time worrying about things that as we get older we realise don’t matter. But so empowering to see all these women now embracing who they are, and looking stunning in these photos.”

Find the exhibition at The Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells from 5th -18th March 2024

In six weeks’ time Rusthall Cricket Club will be starting its’ 2024 season and is getting ready with pre -season activities to hit the ground running come mid-April.

Pre -season indoor nets are taking place in the Sports Hall at Holmewood House School on Sunday 17th March, Sunday 24th March, Sunday 7th April and Sunday 14th April, all from 9am10am.

Anyone interested is more than welcome to come along and join us for a net - the Club is looking to recruit players of all abilities who would like to play local non-league cricket (generally 40 overs per team) on a Saturday afternoon, whether it be trying cricket for the first time or returning to it.

And indoor pre-season nets in the warm are the perfect way to start!

If you are interested in playing or coming to a net session please contact Nigel Cheek, the Club Chairman, on 07710 144252 for further details.

The 2024 season starts on Saturday 20th April with a local derby away at Speldhurst and the first game at home in Coach Road is Saturday 4th May. Nigel Cheek

local happenings 4 Rusthall Life
Winning team Does Grey Matter?
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A Forgotten Artist: Amy Beatrice Atkinson 1859-1916

Rusthall resident and local historian Carol Mellors shares her research on a forgotten artist buried in our local churchyard.

A Covid ramble around St Paul’s Church graveyard revealed a large stepped Saxon Cross inscribed Amy Beatrice Atkinson Painter born Fakenham Norfolk July 9th 1859 died Tunbridge Wells September 18th 1916.

Intrigued to find a forgotten painter, research revealed a talented artist and traveller who had exhibited frequently at The Royal Academy and at many other galleries both nationally and internationally.

The middle child of the Rector of Fakenham, Amy had an elder brother and a younger sister and grew up in the Rectory with servants and a Prussian governess. When her father died in 1890 Amy was 31 and she inherited a large sum which enabled her to move to Newlyn, Cornwall where she became part of the Newlyn colony of artists. They recorded the working lives of fishermen and their families and then exhibited their work in London. Competent in both oil and watercolour, Amy was exemplary in her mastery of light and shade.

After Cornwall Amy moved to Pas de Calais another artistic colony, where her work capturing everyday scenes was exhibited in England and France, always receiving positive reviews.

In midlife Amy’s companion was the writer Anne Macdonnel. Amy had a house in Holland Park, another mecca for artists, the most notable being her near neighbour William Holman Hunt. Anne shared Amy’s home for about 10 years and they travelled together, particularly around Southern Italy between 1903-7. Anne was writing a travelogue which Amy illustrated. ‘In the Abruzzi’ 1908 became a popular travel guide which is still in print today.

Amy died suddenly while visiting Tunbridge Wells alone in 1916.

A ‘well known visitor’ according to The Courier, her death certificate reveals that she had recently had kidney problems and then had a sudden heart attack. Her brother Stuart came from Farnborough to sign her death certificate. She was 57.

Both Amy and her brother never married and although her younger sister married and had 5 girls, none of them married so there were no close relatives to promote Amy’s legacy. Today her work occasionally appears in auctions and her watercolours fetch just a few hundred pounds.

‘Bubbles’ - a

Flourishing at the allotment

Recently I went back to visit Keith Terry at the Flourish Allotment project in Southwood Road. The Flourish project is run by Crossways Community as a way of supporting adults with their mental health. Volunteers and clients can come to the allotment, spend time working on a variety of gardening or craft projects, or just sit and have a cup of tea – there’s no pressure and people can be as involved as they like.

The last time I visited Keith he was full of his plans for the future, and he had lots to update me with. “We’ve refurbished the old wildlife pond, done lots of willow weaving, made bird boxes, planted fruit trees, set up polytunnels, built a composting toilet and we are working with the Parish Council on the accessible allotment project that we hope will be up and running soon,” Keith tells me.

As ever, the allotment, covering a large area close to the Jockey Farm fields, is an incredibly soothing and inspiring place to spend time. Keith shows me the recently planted seeds that are beginning to grow, including broad beans, peas, leeks, onions, and soft fruits. “The peas are being grown from seeds we harvested last year,” Keith explains. “There’s a circularity to it that makes it sustainable. Last year was a

good one, we had good crops despite the di culties with the weather and supplied surplus to the food bank and Kitchen Table on Camden Road.” Keith is keen to thank everyone who supports the project. “The Venture have been very good to us – they sold our pumpkins for us, and the Parish Council are incredibly supportive, they help us a lot.”

“I can’t wait for the summer, especially to get access to all areas going. It’s going to be great,” Keith says. We are pleased that Flourish volunteers are going to write regular updates for us to suggest seasonal growing ideas, and share updates. To find out more information about how you can get involved with Flourish, email

local happenings
Life 7
carefully observed image of a Cornish fisherman’s child playing at home. Manchester Art Gallery

Rusthall’s bonfire queen

If you haven’t already met Lisa Coghlan then you almost certainly have been aware of her work – she is the Chair of the Bonfire and Fete Committee and a driving force behind the annual village fete, the bonfire, fireworks and torchlight procession as well as the popular monthly Community Co ee mornings and last year’s Coronation Treasure Hunt – and that is just scratching the surface of Lisa’s community involvement!

“I was the Bonfire princess and the queen as a child; my sister and I were pulled in a carriage at the front of the torchlight procession,” Lisa tells me, when I ask her how it all began. “Children’s discos were a big part of the fundraising for the fireworks, and they would vote for a child to be the next bonfire princess, and then the next year she would be the queen.”

Lisa’s parents volunteered with community events, and so Lisa helped out too. “I remember doing the teas and co ees at the school fete when I was about sixteen or seventeen,” she says. “I’ve been around events all my life, either from a business or community point of view,” Lisa says. “My dad and I set up the A-Star café, and we did some outside catering as part of that. In 2010 I got involved with the Bonfire and Fete Committee when they started doing the fete, a few years after that we started doing the Christmas tree light switch on. I helped with the Rusthall Community Arts Festival. In 2017 I was asked to help with Tunbridge Wells Pride because of my experience with road closures and I also started helping out at RAF Roadshows.”

vegetables and lentils that are most welcome to me as I run between appointments! The blackboard in her kitchen has a meal plan for the week on it, but in the run up to the village fete it is covered with lists and plans for the smooth running of the big day, as excitement builds. She tells me that her husband Mark is really supportive of all that she does.

Lisa wanted to create the Plan My Event app because she found that there was a gap between organising an event and being able to find all the di erent suppliers and services in one place. “I had the idea seven years ago and bought the website, but working out the details has taken time – it was only in lockdown when I started organising my own wedding that I realised how many businesses were capable of hosting all di erent kinds of events but that there was no way of finding them easily. “I just want to make it simple for anyone organising any kind of event,” she says.

I ask Lisa what it is about community events that she loves? “It’s definitely the community spirit that keeps me motivated,” she tells me without hesitating. “The saying that it takes a village to do something, that’s so true and I couldn’t do anything without the whole team. Things have become spread out across society these days; people don’t always know who their neighbours are. When we support local and go to community events, we realise who lives near to us and that makes the community stronger.” The values she grew up with in Rusthall are at the heart of what she is doing now. “I know growing up in the village, going to the discos, everyone knew each other. My memories of my mum having lots of friends, going in and out of their houses, having honorary ‘aunties’, everyone helping each other out. I spent most of my childhood in Rusthall Club. We could all walk where we wanted to go, we didn’t need to have a car.”

The importance of those local connections and community spaces where people can come together as the social glue holding that all important community spirit together is vital. “We can get everyone involved in di erent ways, there’s a circularity of support, of people contributing di erent things and exchanging help in a community and that’s what I’m really passionate about. That’s why I want to do it – it’s all about bringing people together to look out for each other and get things done.”

When I go to visit Lisa, she is a few days away from launching her new app, Plan My Event, and there is an air of calm and ordered anticipation in her home. I’m impressed that she makes time to cook me lunch while we chat – a delicious vegan meal of roasted

This community togetherness is a philosophy familiar to most of us fortunate enough to live in a strong community like Rusthall, and it’s this that Lisa wants to bring to communities across the country – knowing her ability to get things done, we’re sure she’s going to succeed!

local happenings 8 Rusthall Life
Lisa and her sister Lucy
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Meet the people who look a er our Commons

Nicci Levy recently met up with Ranger of the Commons Daniel Colville and General Manager of the Commons Gemma Stapeley to talk about how they look after our beloved Commons.

Between them, our Commons in Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall span over 256 acres. They are owned by the company that also owns The Pantiles and they are managed by the Commons Conservators who are made up of twelve trustees.

When we experienced the Great Storm in 1987, two and a half thousand trees were blown down and a few years later, in 1991 the Friends of the Commons was set up. In 1992 the Commons Conservators employed a warden who started the management and clearance of the commons. The same warden worked on the commons until 2022 when he retired, and Ranger Dan took over the position. Gemma and Dan explained that the commons needed a Ranger that “knew a lot about trees!” Ranger Dan’s role

is a full-time paid one and General Manager Gemma’s has been part-time since she took on the position in 2019.

Gemma and Dan told me that their four priorities are public safety; ecology and biodiversity; aesthetics and beauty; and the social and historical context, which include promenading terraces on which Queen Victoria rode a donkey! “We are trying to ensure it looks natural while creating great view points,” they explain. They have been through a process of opening up spaces to create more light, and corridor connectivity which in turn creates biodiversity; Dan has counted seven species of bat on the commons at the time of writing. Dan is also keen to encourage more naturally occurring areas of meadow.

I wanted to know more about the issue of Ash dieback which is a fungal disease and Dan and Gemma explained this goes back as far as 2012 and they described it as ‘ravaging Ash trees all over the UK.’ It comes from spores that have transferred from other parts of the world. Whilst some of the Ash trees do have resistance to the disease, others have succumbed with branches coming o on roads and paths and one tree falling onto the Langton Road after a storm. With storms and high winds becoming more severe and frequent, there is a risk that a diseased tree could completely collapse so safety becomes the priority.

There will be re-planting of trees, the right trees in the right areas for biodiversity. Friends of the Earth have provided some new trees already. Dan explained how the Ash trees created a canopy and now that those trees are down smaller trees are already coming through. There is now so much light that grassland, glades, and meadows are developing, and Dan described this as “phenomenal wildlife value…making the

canopy less dense, provides more light for so many more species.”

Dan and Gemma told me about all the ‘unsung heroes’ who help to maintain our commons. There are regular, organised litter-picks during which all manner of rubbish is collected – including discarded household bulky items! There are people who clear specific areas of their own volition and people who repair the many benches free of charge.

Gemma and Dan have some plans in the pipeline to make the commons more accessible for all, including people with disabilities. As we ended our discussion they told me, “We’re o to write our tree policy now!”

If you are interested in becoming a Friend of the Common or just knowing more about our fabulous commons go to: https://www. or https:// where you will find a wealth of information.

local happenings Rusthall Life 11

Parish Council

News from

Rusthall is a great place

It is very easy to become overwhelmed by the minutiae of life so it might be nice to take a moment and look at the positives of living within a great village.

Rusthall really is an allencompassing community, that comes together to support various groups and individuals as and when needed. We have welcomed refugees from Ukraine and other countries and new residents have often shared on our social media channels how welcome they have been made to feel.

Rusthall Larder very low-cost surplus food for all, and Charlie’s Angels is a home-grown success story, now in a permanent café in Camden Road. There are numerous sports, exercise groups and interest groups that cater for all interests and ages. Not to mention the presence of both a thriving community cinema and the library. We have a couple of fabulous café’s o ering social evenings as well as amazing food. A pub that o ers live music, quizzes, and fabulous Thai food. A free annual fireworks event and a wonderful summer fete.

We are lucky to be so close to Tunbridge Wells and all it has to o er and yet are still a rural village surrounded by the Common land and countryside, defined as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Supported by regular litter picks

So…. when you’re looking at a grey sky and listening to depressing items in the media, why not step out into the village and lift your spirits.

Allotments update

Unusually, we still have a few vacant plots at Wickham Gardens Allotments. So, if you are a keen gardener, love the outdoors and want to grow your own produce, please contact Kevin Watson, Allotments Manager at . Alternatively, if you are an existing tenant at Wickham Gardens and wish to take on an additional plot, now is the time as these

opportunities are rare. Just contact Kevin for further details.

The summer BBQ and prize giving for existing allotment holders is scheduled for Saturday 6th July 2024, further details nearer the time. Please save the date.

Rusthall Civic Plaque Awards:

Rusthall Parish Council operates a Commemorative Plaque Scheme to recognise and celebrate noteworthy people from Rusthall.

Any resident from Rusthall Parish can submit a nomination. The nominee must be deceased for 5 years or longer, and have been born, educated or lived in Rusthall.

Nominations should be submitted in writing or by email to The Clerk at The Rackli Centre, Lower Green Road or

For full details regarding the criteria and for more information please refer to Rusthall Parish Council website asp?f=b3ea46f0%2Df669%2D4b %2D9c1d%2D84c 82da983 %2Epdf&o=Rusthall%2DCommemorative%2DPlaques%2DSche me%2Epdf

Dog owners

Unfortunately, we have had a few complaints about dog excrement in the streets around the village. PLEASE remember to carry dog pooh bags and dispose of in bins provided around the village. Dog excrement is a health hazard, especially to very young children.


A summary of the last quarter of 2023 ; 1st October to 31st December.

No. of sessions 8

Total vehicles exceeding limit and referred to the police 154

Max speed recorded within 20 mph zone 38mph =98%

Dates for the diary:

4th March 20247.30pm Allotment Committee

11th March 20247.30pm Full Council

8th April 20247.30pm Full Council

22nd April 20247.30pm Environment Committee

12 Rusthall Life

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Rusthall Life on audio

An audio version of Rusthall Life is available for anyone who has di culty 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 di culties and would like an audio version of Rusthall Life or Langton Life please contact We professionally record each issue and email it to recipients.


Don’t wait until spring, the best strategy is to build up your immune system before symptoms appear Hay fever/chronic rhinitis is an over reaction to something that the body should, and can, usually handle so the key here is to have a strong immune system. When you encounter an allergen, be it food, pollen or a dusty room an antibody is produced releasing histamine which causes itching, swelling and inflammation.

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• Consume foods rich in quercetin (apples, berries, capers) and bromelain (pineapple and papaya) to reduce inflammation

• Make nettle tea to ease symptoms

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Local elections and changes to ward boundaries

On 2nd May this year there will be local elections to decide who will represent you on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. These are unusual because following a boundary review, there are going to be significant changes.

We will, in May, elect all our Borough Councillors at the same time - after which we will revert back to electing in ‘thirds’, or one Councillor at a time in each ward, in three out of four years. The changes were passed through our national Parliament in January. This means we will hold the biggest local elections for a generation in Tunbridge Wells in Maythe last boundary changes were in 2003.

The Borough Council keeps just 9 % of our Council tax and provides waste services, parks, and leisure centres, as well as voting on planning applications across the Borough. Roads, Schools, Libraries and Social Services are all provided separately by Kent County Council. The Borough Council geography is larger than our Parliamentary seat, and also covers some of the current Maidstone Parliamentary constituency, covering the town of Cranbrook.

The Borough of Tunbridge Wells will have fourteen wards and be represented by thirty-nine Borough Councillors in total (this number is a reduction from the current forty-eight members of the councilhopefully better value for money!).

In Rusthall you will be part of a new ‘Rusthall and Speldhurst’ ward, named after the two large Parish Councils the ward covers. You will be represented by three councillors, in a ward that will

Rusthall Scout Group

2023 has been another busy year for Rusthall Scout Group (2nd Tunbridge Wells (Rusthall St Pauls)), with over 100 young people taking part in varying activities and challenges, both during weekly meetings and during camps and day events.

We have a number of sections that make up the Scout Group enabling access to scouting and all the fun that entails, for young people from the age of 4 to 18 (and older if you include the adult volunteers who are all young at heart!).

The sections are:

Squirrels – Four to six year olds

Beavers – Six to eight year olds

Cubs – Eight to ten year olds

Scouts – Ten to fourteen year olds

Explorers – Fourteen to eighteen year olds

What are some of the common myths about Scouting?

Girls cannot join the scouting movement

o False – Scouting is open to all, girls have been able to join since 1991

Scouting is just about camping, hiking and tying knots

o False - Each section is responsible for setting their own programme, based upon a whole range of activities and

include the villages of Langton Green and Speldhurst and stretch from Ashurst and Groombridge, to the edges of Culverden and Bidborough. Currently this area is represented by five Councillors; one Conservative, two Labour, and two Tunbridge Wells Alliance. We hope the election will be conducted in a spirit of positivity and service to our wonderful communities - fingers crossed!

challenges, and the volunteers who facilitate the sessions work hard to ensure that there is a wide range of activities that will cater for everyone. Most importantly, we plan fun sessions and yes that can include camping, hiking and tying knots, but also so much more.

Scouting is expensive

o There is a termly fee, payable three times a year, which works out at approximately £3-£4 a session, to cover costs of the weekly meetings. If you cannot manage payments in three lump sums, you can discuss payment options with our Senior Team.

o Camps and other additional events are optional to take part in.

Scouting is not inclusive

o Scouting is open to all, the volunteers will work to adapt the programme to ensure that everyone is able to take part. We will work with parents/ carers to understand and put in required support to enable scouting to be accessible to every Young Person.

How can you sign your Young Person up to join scouting in Rusthall?

Email for a link to the online form.

local happenings 14 Rusthall Life
Rusthall Life 15 Enterthemarketthis monthwitha Spring inyourstep! Call now for a FREE, no obligation Market Appraisal Call now for a FREE, no obligation Market Appraisal With offices in Crowborough, Forest Row & Tunbridge Wells, we're here to help With offices in Crowborough, Forest Row & Tunbridge Wells, we're here to help you move. you move. T:01892 515188/01342 824824 All social media platforms:@KMJ PROPERTY NEXT MEETINGS 9am till 12pm 30th March | 27th April | 25th May Rusthall URC Hall, Manor Road, Rusthall Beautifully Bespoke Garden Rooms As featured in 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. @manuelsmarketandbakery Email: Tel: 01892 521567 Now open on Sundays !

High street window competition

In December, the Rusthall Bonfire and Fete Group held their annual Christmas Window competition, inviting businesses on the High Street and close by to enter.

The three criteria that the windows are judged on are; Illumination, Innovation and Spirit of Christmas

This year, once again, we had some fabulous entries. It was very close, and the judges were divided on the winning window, with the winning window narrowly coming out on top.

The top three windows for 2023 were:

1st Place – Daily Bread

2nd Place – WD Taylor

3rd Place – The Venture and Rusthall Ironmongers

We are looking forward to 2024 entries as we know that some of the businesses are already planning their entries!

A look back at Rusthall Common

This issue we are looking at old postcards of Rusthall Common – some have changed, others are still the same, but the views are always beautiful.

16 Rusthall Life local happenings
The Common c.1914 Happy Valley Rusthall Church Sweeps’ Caves Happy Valley

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

Update on Rusthall Post Office

As many of you are aware, there has been widespread concern in the community about plans to downgrade our Post O ce in the One Stop to a Local format with a counter at the front of the shop with the retail tills. There have been community rallies outside the shop, and a petition has more than 2,700 signatures against the changes. Borough Councillors and Parish Councillors have been working together to hold One Stop and Post O ce to account, and in the One Stop’s most recent communication they have said that no services will be lost, their recommendation would be that there should be a separate queue for retail and post o ce customers, and there will be two post o ce counters – this seems to be a change from the original information, and may be down to the levels of community concern to maintain our post o ce services. Councillors are not yet satisfied, however, and Jayne Sharratt and Parish Council Chair Liz Ellicott plan visits to nearby One Stop stores that operate with the Local format so that they can see for themselves how it works. They plan to continue to hold One Stop Stores and the Post O ce to account because they know how much older and more vulnerable residents depend on Post O ce services.

Green Café


Rusthall Guide Group etc.

Daphne Pilcher 01892 521691

Rusthall Village Association Sue White 01892 458695 Allotments

Parish Clerk 01892 520161

ParishChair 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

I recently met Rusthall residents Shally Hunt and Paul Froome to talk about the Green Café they are setting up in the village. The café will be a chance for local residents to share ideas about how they can make changes that could work to make Rusthall ‘greener’, protecting nature and mitigating against the worst impacts of climate change. “We hope that we will be able to create a community of local people who will be able to share their knowledge and actions and encourage each other along the way,” Paul explained. “I’ve recently created a compost heap in my garden; none of us can do everything but if we all try and do our bit, it will make a di erence.” Paul met Shally when he read about her fundraising for Greenpeace in Rusthall Life, and she agrees with him about the di erence we can all make. “I hope that through meeting in a friendly, informal way people will realise ‘green’ doesn’t have to be overwhelming – it can be enjoyable and beneficial as well.” Paul also hopes that the group will be a safe place for people who are feeling anxious to gain reassurance by realising they are not alone. “By bringing people together we will build stronger more resilient communities.” The first Green Café will be held on Sunday 24th March – anyone who would like to find out more information can contact Paul at

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

Rusthall Life 17
contact name and either telephone number or email address to
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Photo: Luke Clampitt

Rusthall School Fundraising for new play equipment for the playground

The charity Friends of Rusthall School are trying to raise £28,000 to pay for new play equipment for the children to use on the playground. The old equipment has been taped o since last summer, after it became unfit for purpose due to its age. So far the charity has raised £10,000. “This is down to the untiring work of the Friends of Rusthall School committee and volunteers, who have been organising fetes, cake sales, ra es, tombolas and sponsored pancake flips – and it also owes huge thanks to our school parents, who have donated their money so generously,” said FORS Chair Hannah Mackintosh. “We can’t do it all alone though – we don’t want our children to have to wait much longer for an exciting, active and adventurous playtime,” she added. They have created a Go Fund me fundraiser page that can be shared

with friends, family and the wider community far and near, in the hope that they can raise more money. They are also looking into what grant funding might be available. “We are exploring all sorts of ways to raise the money,” said Treasurer Bryony Breese, “but we would be so grateful to anyone able to spare some money for this cause that will directly benefit all Rusthall St Paul’s School Children for years to come.”

The Friends of Rusthall School also funds Forest School, trips to the pantomime for every pupil and other curriculum enriching activities, so the playground equipment is no small task – but the FORS team are determined to make it happen.

If you would like to donate the Go Fund Me page is

local happenings 18 Rusthall Life

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