The Hurst Dec-Feb 23 issue

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the Hurst

What’s going on in Hurst Green • News, views and information ISSUE 19 DEC/JAN/FEB 2022-23

the Hurst


So much has changed since the last edition of the Hurst. We have a new King and have been through three Prime Ministers (not to mention three Chancellors and a few Home Secretaries). Let’s hope this quarter is a little more peaceful.

Of course, the passing of Her Majesty the Queen in September was an extraordinary period in time and two Hurst Green residents decided to join the queues in London to pay their respects. They diaried their exploits which make really interesting reading. the Hurst has also changed this issue in that I have taken over as Editor. To give you a bit of background, I’ve been in publishing for many years but Annabelle is a hard act to follow. I hope, as time goes on, we can continue her legacy of bringing the village together. With Christmas not too far away now, understandably this issue has a focus on the Festive Season.The village celebrations will begin on 2nd December at the Village Hall when an evening of Comedy Capers and the Community Choir will entertain residents alongside the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. With mulled wine and mince pies

available, it promises to be a fun evening and a great start to the seasonal festivities!

Nearer the big day, and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, the village is encouraged to take part in the Carols by Candlelight at 4.30pm on 17th December at Holy Trinity. Carols will be led by the Community Choir and again minced pies and mulled wine will follow.

Within these pages we’ve also taken a look at how Christmas cake is made in different parts of the world. Inspiration maybe for something different?

Beyond the tinsel and glitter, we shine the spotlight on a village resident who has been a British Ballroom Champion, we update the Neighbourhood Plan and review the Cricket Season as well as beginning our regular piece on different walks around the village which will be of interest to both ramblers and dog walkers alike. We hope you enjoy this issue. If you have ideas or subjects you would like us to cover in future issues, do please let me know. In the meantime, a Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year to everybody in Hurst Green!

Francesca Wooldridge

Deadline for next copy is 31st January

Design: John Hawkins Printed by: Wealden Print, Hawkhurst USEFUL CONTACTS
Allotment Association 01580 860251 Breakfast Club (75+) 01580 860760/860358 Brownies 01580 860742 Comedy Capers 01580 860221 Cricket Club 07796 976809 First Responders 07837 224905 Holy Trinity Church 01580 880282 (Vicar) 01580 860649 Hurst Green C of E School 01580 860375 Nursery School 01580 860375 x211 Parish Clerk 01580 860111 Rother District Council 01424 787000 Short Mat Bowling 01424 773478 Twinning Association 01580 860977 Village Hall Booking Agent 01580 860111/860425

With a number of keen walkers and a large number of dog walkers in the village, Allan Cheek starts a regular feature in the Hurst describing different walks of varying difficulty. Allan is happy to discuss this and other Hurst Green walks in more detail including the possibility of leading small groups. For information, contact Allan by text/WhatsApp 07803 502972

The walk starts easily from the Clock House heading north east then turning south to the highlight. Great Wigsell is an historic, well-preserved, mainly early 17th century manor house once an ancestral home of the Culpeper family. The driveway leads to the Bodiam Road and Bourne Lane before heading onto the footpath again towards Haiselman’s Farm. A new footpath diversion heads left after Jollie’s Farm through some interesting ups and downs before arriving at Beech House Lane and the final steep challenge back to Silverhill and the A21 pavement from the former White Horse pub to home.

With a total height gain of 800ft, this walk should be comfortably completed in 2.5–3 hours.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking…”
Friedrich Nietzsche
WALK AROUND HURST GREEN 3 HOLY TRINITY CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT Saturday 17th December at 4.30pm in the church Led by Hurst Green Community Choir Celebrating the real meaning of Christmas! Mulled wine and mince pies. Everyone welcome.

The Hurst Green Community Choir

Annabelle Blackaby explains:

The Hurst Green Community Choir was started back in April, when a few of us got together and formed a group to sing at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee fete, which we did. We so enjoyed singing together that since September we have been learning some Christmas songs and carols and will be performing on Friday 2nd December at the Village Hall. We meet each Sunday afternoon in the Church and I have to admit that even if it is an effort to get there for 4pm, the benefits far outweigh the effort. Singing definitely uplifts the spirits and brightens up the soul. As you probably know, there is usually a big Christmas tree positioned outside the Village Hall, beautifully decorated by Sue Endean and

the building is gilded with fairy lights. So, the idea on Friday 2nd December is to kick off the Christmas season with the lighting of these illuminations at 6pm, followed by Christmas entertainment from The Jubilee Choir and Comedy Capers. There will be mulled wine, mince pies etc and the bar will be open. Entry is free, families welcome, so come and get in the mood, sing along to some well-known carols and Christmas songs. If you like what you see, why not think about joining the choir or Comedy Capers, new members are always welcome. Contact Annabelle Blackaby:


Building and Renovations Mark Roby 07586 702809.

Cars Mobile Car Mechanic: Cliff Mercer 07909 911869

Dogs Holiday and day care: Lorely Watson 01580 880061 / 07796 392653

Pippin’s Pet Sitting and walking: 07717 681972

Eco-friendly products Joanna Girling 07443 411677

Electricians Gareth Skinner 07929 839309 Tim Russell 07771 687636

House Portraits Christine Masters Art 07833 342020 Leather repairs Kay Lloyd,Wealden Saddlery 01580 860860

Pest control Paul Messenger 07940 744411

Plastering and tiling Edd Ripley, 07875 494493 Plumbers Aaron Plumbing & Heating Ltd - Aaron Rowsell 01580 230330 Steve Walker 07564 405702

Private car hire and taxi service Hugo, 01435 883803 Mob. 07931 605057

If you or anyone you know would like to be included in this list please email This is a free listing..


Letter from the Vicar

The Church of England’s Christmas theme this year is Follow the Star. We remember the journey of the wise men, or Magi, to Jerusalem and on to Bethlehem to worship the infant Jesus. We are also reminded of our own journeys through life and faith. The older I get, the faster that journey seems to be going!

the Magi must have arrived after the night of the birth and many churches don’t add them to the crib scene until January 6th, twelfth night.

“Christians believe Jesus came to bring peace and that it’s only in Him that true peace can be found.”

Like much of the nativity, the stories and legends about the Magi that have developed over the centuries don’t always quite match what the bible actually tells us. We all have fond memories of school nativities with three kings bringing their gifts to join the shepherds at the stable. I collect small nativity sets from all around the world and those that include the Magi only ever have three and they almost always look like kings.

The Gospel of St Matthew, the first book of our New Testament is the only one that tells the story of the wise men coming from the East. Depending on the translation they are called Magi or wise men. Magi were members of a priestly caste in ancient Persia (now Iran) who were known for their study of the stars. This makes sense because it is East of Israel and frankincense, and myrrh are both made from resins extracted from trees that grew in that area. Matthew does not tell us how many there were, the assumption that there were three comes from the three gifts that they brought. In Eastern Christianity they often number twelve. Later Christian writings probably linked the story to the book of Isaiah which refers to “kings [coming] to the brightness of your dawn” bearing “gold and frankincense”. Also, Psalm 72:11, “May all kings fall down before Him”. If you read the story carefully

As I said, the story of the wise men, whatever the facts and details can prompt us to think about our own journeys, especially for Christians, our journey of faith, towards Jesus and on through our lives with Him. Some of us have a faith in God, some of us have faith that there is no God and some of us are journeying towards faith. The Magi followed a star, which led them to Jesus. Perhaps this Christmastide we could all take the opportunity to reflect on the people and things in this world that we follow and maybe think about where they might be leading us. Our country and indeed the world is in a time of turmoil. Christians believe that Jesus came to bring peace and that it is only in Him that true peace can be found. We believe that His peace stays with us no matter what is happening around us. We also believe that He calls us to be people of peace. I pray that wherever you are on your journey of life and faith that you will know peace this Christmas and have a Happy and blessed New Year.

God bless, Rev Annette 01580 880282 07900 332791

We meet at Holy Trinity every Sunday – we have coffee at 9am and the service starts at 9.30.

To make a donation to the work of Holy Trinity, use this QR code to go to our Just Giving page. Thank you so much – it will make a huge difference.


spotlight on Eileen Levett

It is amazing how a village the size of Hurst Green can have such interesting and varied people within its boundaries. From farmers to news readers and more, the village has it all.

Considering this, and to shed the spotlight on some of the fascinating stories behind people in the village, we will highlight different individuals and tell their stories in subsequent issues of the Hurst. If you know anybody who you think would make a great subject, of course, just let us know.

For fans of Strictly Come Dancing, our first profile is a lady who, together with her late husband, were crowned British Ballroom Champions on two separate occasions.

Eileen Levett is a delightful lady who exudes her deep love of dance with everything she says. Eileen grew up in London and, following a difficult period

with her mother, at the age of sixteen, during the 1950s, went to live with an aunt. Wanting to find something to keep the young Eileen occupied, her aunt was the first person to suggest she enrolled in a dance class in Eltham.

It was during this period that Eileen met an incredibly talented ‘social’ dancer in a pub. The pair immediately hit it off and were soon a couple at Eileen’s dance class. Eileen commented, “Len was an incredible dancer – a complete natural.”

The story might have ended there but for Eileen’s dance teacher who recognised that the pair had enormous talent and realised that they needed a better teacher. Her Eltham teacher suggested that Eileen (and Len) found somebody to train them in the competition world – a far cry from the lessons in Eltham. They found the perfect teacher – Henry Kingston who was a talented dancer and competition coach.

Kingston’s son in law was Len Goodman (known to all Strictly fans as a past judge) and for many years Eileen and Len competed against Len Goodman and his partner, Henry Kingston’s daughter. The 1950s brought a new appreciation of dance as Europe began to rebuild after

“Eileen Levett is a delightful lady who exudes her deep love of dance with everything she says”
Len Goodman (left) and Len Levett in the 70s Winning the British Open Championships 1977

the Second World War and Eileen and Len were at the centre of this surge in interest. When Henry Kingston passed away, Len Goodman took over his school of dance and, as a result, went more into exhibition dancing. This left Len and Eileen looking for a new coach – one they eventually found in the form of Len Scrivener.

Scrivener was a former British dance champion and a well-known lecturer on dance at the Court ballroom in Balham amongst other places, together with his partner Nellie Duggan.

Scrivener coached Eileen and her nowhusband Len right up until a few weeks before the British Championships in May 1977 which Eileen and Len won. Sadly, Len Scrivener died just a few weeks prior, so was denied seeing his protégé’s finest moments.

Len and Eileen were involved in dance competitions virtually every weekend of the year, leading up to the Championships. They invariably came first or second in all of their competitions and won their second British Championships. Of course, they were all amateurs and had jobs during the day so had very hectic schedules fitting everything in. And not only that but Eileen made all her own dresses for the competitions.

Len and Eileen decided they would open


Who remembers the pubs of Hurst Green? The Cross Keys Inn, The Old Bull Inn, The White Horse and The Woolpack. All were licensed pubs in the village and we are trying to find out more about each one which will make interesting reading in a future edition. If you have memories of any or all of these pubs, we’d love to hear from you. Please either email me at or contact Allan Cheek by text/WhatsApp 07803 502972.

a school of dance when they gave up competitive dancing in the early 1980s. Len took all the exams needed to teach; Eileen took some, but quickly realised she far preferred to dance than to teach others. They hired a hall in Blackheath and began to offer lessons and practice sessions for experienced dancers. The world of competitive dancing was tough. Dancers used to travel all over the country for lessons with good coaches. As a result, Eileen and Len became well known and a lot of couples came to them including Anton Du Beke (now a nationally known Strictly judge) who came to them as a talented amateur competitor. page 8

A young Anton Du Beke at Len and Eileen’s school

® Such was their talent that in the late 1970s, Eileen and Len were invited to represent Great Britain in a competition in East Germany – in fact, the couple were two of the first people to dance in then communist East Germany. Eileen remembers the trip well. “There were four couples and we competed against nine different countries – mostly from the Eastern European bloc. We had to fill in endless duplicate forms and everything we did was scrutinised – even to the point of checking our car many times. The only words I knew in German were how to ask where the toilet was!”

Despite all of this, the couple became friendly with an East German couple, Erica and Heinz, and Eileen has remained friends with them ever since, even organising a trip for Erica to visit the UK.

Len and Eileen continued to teach and inspire until they retired when they took up bowling competitively. Sadly, Len passed away in 1995 and Eileen pursued a career in fashion followed by six years working in a high-end Gallery specialising in German porcelain. Despite the passing of the years, Eileen has always retained a deep love of dance. But then, as a former British Dance Champion, maybe that is to be expected!

Public Consultation on the draft Hurst Green Neighbourhood Plan

As reported in the last edition of the Hurst, the Parish Council have recently concluded the first of several formal public consultations on the draft Neighbourhood Plan. Aided by the professional advisors, funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and are now busy reviewing all of the representations received, and are carefully considering how and where to update the draft plan, based on the feedback received.

Residents are able to read the representations received directly on the Council’s website at: https:// the Hurst spoke with Parish Councillors about the consultation, who remarked that one of the misconceptions that occasionally they have been asked is ‘why is the Parish Council encouraging housing development?’

The answer is that the Parish Council has no control over Rother district housing development targets, or over national planning law, or the aspirations of local landowners and of housing developers. Therefore to seek to influence the inevitable expansion of Hurst Green, the Parish Council decided to produce a local Neighbourhood Plan, however to be valid, the plan cannot promote less housing development that the District Council have already allocated to Hurst Green. The neighbourhood plan is however able to outline where any housing development

8 8
Eileen and Len with a dress made by Eileen

should go, how it is spread out around the village, and how it should look. The policies within the draft plan are directly influenced from the public meetings, exhibitions and surveys that have been carried out in the parish since 2018, and the Parish Council believe the plan is the best way to combat mass-inappropriate housing development, as is being seen, arguably very locally, in the surrounding

villages. The plan also covers desired improvements to sporting and leisure facilities around the parish.

The Parish Council hopes to have an updated draft plan, including updates to the Hurst Green masterplan and design codes, ready by the end of 2022.

on Green
“The policies within the plan are directly influenced from the public meetings”

A long walk to Queen Elizabeth’s lying in state

A pair of Hurst Green patriots decided to follow the crowds and pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth. It was a long day. Here’s their diary:

4.00 am Decision made, we’re going to do it. Up before dawn, half an hour’s walk to the first train up from Etchingham at 5.41am. Saw the sunrise long before arriving at London Bridge.

7.00 am The friendly marshals guided us towards the queue which stretched and stretched all the way back to Bermondsey Beach along the Thames where we finally found our place at the back, in Cathay Street, beside the landmark Moated Manor House of Edward III.

7.30 am It was here that we met our new compatriots who would be constant companions for the duration and our stories began to exchange. A mother and

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Friday 16 September

daughter (GB Kayaker) from Norwich, a time-served police officer from Bath (sporting a grand Union Jack waistcoat which would draw attention from the world’s TV crews along the way) and other friendly diverse folk.

8.45 am A welcome coffee from an enterprising espresso concession and some portaloos were our only other distractions for our static first hour, followed by halting progress for the next two hours as we moved toward St Saviour’s Dock along the narrow streets of Bermondsey Wall.

10.30 am As well as the good humoured chat amongst our group we marvelled at the historic passage through London’s dockland Shad Thames district with its indicative sturdy warehousing like Cinnamon Wharf, cobbled streets, atmospheric walkways and re-born business and residential use.

12.00 pm Wristbands allowing proof of position for re-entry were finally handed out around Tower Bridge. In reality these were only needed at a couple of checkpoints because the queue assumed its own natural unseen protective field of behaviour whereby its members became its guardians. During the long hours of patient progress nothing untoward occurred.


2.30 pm The Queue became a parallel universe as it weaved its way through the London streets, business districts and tourist landmarks (HMS Belfast, Southwark Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe, Millennium Bridge) and the thousands of people about their own agendas.

4.00 pm For some we were a spectacle in our own right with questions about our experience coming from passers-by. One memorable conversation near London Eye revealed from a chap who had completed his queue, to expect three to four hours to the finish. Time for a well-earned bag of chips!

4.30 pm As the Houses of Parliament finally came into view there was an audible flush of anticipation as our goal was in sight. Now on the aptly named Queens Walk, round the back of St Thomas’ Hospital and onto the poignant Covid Memorial Wall with just the Lambeth Bridge to cross and we’d be there well before time … but no!

6.00 pm We’re on the bridge gazing across the river to the Palace of Westminster and the iconic Victoria Tower, not far now. But on entering Victoria Gardens we realised it was a case of ‘so near yet so far’ as we joined the tail of the final ‘serpentine’ queue snaking its long way to the gates of Old Palace Yard.

7.00 pm The news spread that King Charles and his siblings were on their way to take their place around the late Queen’s coffin for a short vigil and hopes

and a cheer were raised as the Royal Standard flew on the Tower. But hopes soon diminished as the queue took hold of proceedings once again.

7.30 pm Dark now in the garden as we were told to discard any drink or foodstuffs and strict rules on admission to Westminster Hall were repeated. The fullyarmed manning of the security screening was impressive – tougher than any airport.

8.00 pm Finally in reverential silence we were ushered into the Hall, to witness a changing of the personnel standing vigil, which was conducted with absolute precision, then allowed to file pass Her Majesty. An unforgettable day of rewarded patience.

11 WHAT’S ON WEEKLY MONDAY 11am Lunch Club (2nd Monday each month, 07798 556999 to book) 7pm Short Mat Bowls TUESDAY 8.45am Pilates (07798 663820) 7pm Jive & Lindy Hop (07766 881045) 8pm Parish Council Meeting (4th Tuesday of each month) WEDNESDAY 10am Upholstery (termtime) 5.30pm Brownies (termtime) THURSDAY 8.45am Pilates 1.30pm Short Mat Bowls 8pm Zumba FRIDAY 10am Breakfast Club (2nd & 4th Friday each month) Booking agent: Sue Endean 01580 860425, 07718 282605 Charity no. 229672 HURST GREEN VILLAGE HALL

Christmas (cake) around the world!

With Christmas upon us, and spiced fruit cakes being made and baked all over the country, we thought it would be interesting to see what different countries have as the equivalent of our Christmas cake.


Christmas Cake

In England, Christmas cake is a tradition that began as plum porridge. People ate the porridge on Christmas Eve, using it to line their stomachs after a day of fasting. Soon dried fruit, spices and honey were added to the porridge mixture, and eventually it turned into Christmas pudding and cake.

In the 16th century, oatmeal was removed from the original recipe, and butter, wheat flour and eggs were added. These ingredients helped hold the mixture together and in what resulted in a boiled plum cake. Richer families that had ovens began making fruit cakes with marzipan, an almond sugar paste, for Easter. For Christmas, they made a similar cake using seasonal dried fruit and spices. The spices represented the exotic eastern spices brought by the Wise Men. This cake became known as “Christmas cake.”

ITALY Panettone

There are several legends behind the origins of panettone. One of the sweetest surrounds a Milanese baker named Toni who fell in love with a beautiful woman who walked past his bakery every day. In an attempt to lure her inside and win over her affections, he spent months creating this vanilla-perfumed loaf he called ‘Pan di Toni’ (Toni’s bread).

Whatever its origins, panettone is now highly regarded throughout Italy particularly as a gift at Christmas. Baking gets underway around the clock from late October, and row upon row of beautifully packaged panettone adorn the windows of Italian delicatessens and bakeries.


Stollen is a cakelike fruit bread made with yeast, water and flour, and usually with zest added to the dough. Orangeat (candied orange peel) and candied citrus peel (Zitronat), raisins and almonds, and various spices such as cardamom and cinnamon are added.

SWEDEN Saffranskaka

Swedish Saffron Cake is a moist and soft cake that apparently tastes even better the day after. Saffron is popular in baked goods in Sweden, particularly at Christmas.


Kurisumasu Keki

In Japan, Christmas cake is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. The cake is simply a sponge cake, frosted with whipped cream, often decorated with strawberries, and usually topped with Christmas chocolates or other seasonal fruits, and a Santa Claus decoration.


FRANCE Bûche de Noël

A traditional French dessert served after the main Christmas dinner is the Bûche de Noël, a roll of light sponge cake, covered in chocolate or coffee butter cream textured to resemble bark as an evocation of the ancient tradition of burning the Yule log.

SPAIN Roscon de Reyes

A Roscón de Reyes is a traditional type of round or oval cake, decorated with all sorts of candied fruit, chopped nuts and sugar and filled with fillings such as cream cheese and praline cream. The cake came to Spain from France during the 18th Century.

POLAND Krolewiec

Rich decadent layers of honey cake, custard, and chocolate glaze come together to form this traditional Polish king cake or królewiec. The word królewiec translates to “the cake of the king” since “król” means “king” in Polish. So the królewiec can sometimes be referred to as a royal cake.



Vasilopita is the traditional Greek cake or bread served at midnight on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the life of Saint Basil. After baking the Vasilopita cake, a coin is inserted through the base. When cut, the person who finds the coin is said to be granted luck for the rest of the year!


Hurst Green Cricket - Review of the season

Ian Hirst looks back on what he believes was a successful season overall.

“Games against Wadhurst, Robertsbridge, Pett, Flimwell, Catsfield, Pakenham XI, Lewes Priory Ruins weren’t always close, but always played in the right spirit and the team worked to better their own personal achievements – whether that was bowling an over without a wide, hitting a boundary or simply scoring a run.

Playing 30 over games, the team were able to hit 100 or thereabouts in an innings and I think it will just take a combination of a couple of batters putting in a strong innings to see us push towards a more competitive target for an opposition to chase. Particularly impressive with the bowling have been our opening pair of Jamie Parkin and Rob Jenner. We’ve also seen great fielding from Tristan Holman and a superb catch from Ryan Newman in the last game of our season. Millie Hirst (despite being in denial about what a good cricketer she is) was brave in the field, attempting some difficult catches and stopping the ball in the field, with no fear of the ball at all. John Hawkins also showed potential with his spin, getting the ball to drift in the air and turn considerably off the pitch against Catsfield. Richard Blackaby, Allan Cheek and Don Nicholls have all continued the late start to their cricket education, proving that age is no barrier to getting involved in the game,

making useful contributions with the bat and ball in all our matches.

Hurst Green stalwarts Daniel Baldock and groundsman Don Cox continue to show their commitment to the village team after many years of service and a notable mention to the Faulkner family – Jamie, Emma and Harvey who turned out to play when they were available.

Our juniors Noah Newman and Luke Hirst have often been as good as the grown ups with their bowling and progressed nicely with their batting as they have gained experience.

“Games were always played in the right spirit ”

Unfortunately, we lost our Chairman Gareth Skinner to a knee injury but he showed his commitment to stand as umpire and support the team when he couldn’t play. We’ve also missed our regular wicket keeper Joe Roper and spin bowler Jake Barratt this season and hope to see them both back and raring to go in 2023.

Aside from cricket, the club were happy to see the Queen’s Jubilee Fete taking place on the ground and thanks to the fete organisers and everyone in the village who left the ground in a great condition for us to play on.

I’m looking forward to next season already – we hope to have some new training nets ready to use in spring and will be on the hunt for new players to join our club as well. Keep an eye on for more info next year”.

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