You'll find regular updates, forthcoming events and news on this page of what's been happening and going on at MOPP's in Fairlight in our monthly news letter.
Members’ Stories No. 5
After a few years at Rock Lane, where I was born, we moved to a small cottage in Fairlight Road and that became our haven throughout the war. I used to wonder what my father was on about when day after day he would repeat “reckon I shall have to go”. Of course war was imminent and sure enough he was soon called up for the army, so that was my query solved. I remember him going off to the station one day (to Aldershot), we looked out of the window and there marching up the road in full army uniform was our dad. Of course he was quite young and had little idea what he was in for!
I must admit my sisters and I were glad that he was going (though we weren’t sure where) because he was so very strict. Our mother was a soft touch and found it hard to even tell us off. We could get into her bed at night and jump up and down, feathers flying everywhere.
Being the eldest I was assigned to write a letter to my father regularly, this was enclosed in a parcel containing the Observer and an ounce of Hearts of Oak tobacco. This was my special job to go down to Ore village and purchase it from Willetts Tobacconist. I was seven at the time (no traffic worries then).
Dad was backwards and forwards to Germany throughout the war being an officer’s driver mainly. He witnessed the horrendous bombing (by us) of that beautiful city of Dresden and drove officers to the Nuremburg trials after the war. Then he came home to us and whoosh we had to ‘toe the line’. Dad was an ‘Ore man’, born and bred, and proud of it he used to say.
Living throughout the war at Fairlight Road was quite momentous really, a mixture of fear, excitement and worry. Most of our neighbours and school friends evacuated when things ‘hotted up’ but we stayed. Mother said, if we die at least we will all be together. We lived to see the devastation around us and all that went with it.
I started at Ore Girls School at the age of four, setting off complete with my gas mask, and remained there until the age of fourteen. At the close of the school day a policeman in uniform would always be standing opposite. He smiled and talked to the mothers while keeping an eye on all that went on. Oh that lovely tall hat with the badge on the front! He was so special.
School day over so now run home and dear mother waiting, with jam sandwiches at the ready (why, couldn’t I just enjoy that!) then run up the garden path and through the ‘black path’ to Fairlight Avenue. Climb the style into the field of cows and two horses (Blossom and Prince), then down and up another, through a small wood, then on and on until reaching the sea. Oh the joy of it! Although it was wartime I was still allowed that freedom.
What most children miss today, glued to their phones, computers – no time to play. We didn’t even own a radio, and of course no television. My sisters and I learned to love all nature and therefore over the years, explore and enjoy living in Fairlight.
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Tales from the Woodpile
As a child I had a lot of freedom to play up to 14yrs old, but then I wanted to earn money for myself so I entered the world of work. The following have been some of the jobs done for others: Delivering papers (local stores), wax flower making (bridal flora), factory work, farm work, fruit picking, café work, working at Mount Pleasant Hospital and in residential homes. And for myself: Bed & Breakfast, riding school, livery, stud and shows, a caravan site, letting two rooms in my home, growing plants, fruit and veg for Hastings WI market and private hire taxi.
Talk about doing many jobs but being ‘Master of None’, but the diversity of the jobs, and especially of the people I have met and learnt from, enabled me to attend the ‘University of Life’ and always be able to earn my living and meet a lot of people. Through it all, horses and gardening have been my hobbies and still remain so, although much more sedately now. (Ain’t life grand!)
P.S. When blackcurrant picking one day there was a lady sat on a three-legged stool to pick the fruit, who had her sons to ‘help’. They would take the fruit for weighing, until the farmer found out that the bottom layer of the box consisted of snails when they decided to crawl everywhere. Caught in the act, but we all thought it was funny. Boys will be boys.
When my family moved to the Hundreds in Pett in 1945 the house had no mains water but it did have a well shared with Westcott next door. When Barden the local builder tested it he said it was the sweetest and cleanest well he had ever known. It was the job of my eldest sister and me to man the wheel to pump the water into the house tank. This consisted of a large iron wheel with two opposite handles, and it took 100 turns before the water reached the tank.
There was also a small local pumping station on Toot Rock Pett Level, owned and supplied by a local man, Mr Gostik, but he only pumped two hours a day. The people who lived or stayed on Pett Level in summer used to fill up everything they could during those two hours so the water would just start to fill our tank when Mr Gostik’s pumping would be up, so back to the well!
My father then had the mains water laid on for the princely sum of £90. (What cost would that be now?) This was desperately needed as my mother ran a guest house and my father grew tomatoes to sell. How things have changed with all the Mod Cons of today.
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Apologies to Bruce
In the Member’s story last month I unwittingly added many years to Bruce’s age by stating that he had left Rochdale during the war. In fact Bruce came down to Hastings from Rochdale in 1950, when he was seven. Sorry Bruce! I also found out this week that Bruce ran a successful Freezer Meat Discount Centre after attaining his Master Butcher Certificate at Brighton College. Quite an achievement and such a valued profession. How sad that today it is so hard to even find a butcher’s shop.
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FAREWELL FROM CAROLYN
Sadly this is the last newsletter I will be writing as, for family reasons, I will be leaving my role at MOPP on 28 July. Thank you to everyone who has so generously agreed to contribute to the newsletter over the past months – it has been a privilege to share a glimpse into your lives.
And thank you to the wonderful members, volunteers and staff who have made MOPP a special place to work - I will miss you very much.
With all best wishes Carolyn
MOPP has received a grant from Sussex Foundation Grassroots Fund.
The Centre “which is a registered charity (no. 1129231)”
MP Amber Rudd paid a visit to the Marsham Older People’s Project (MOPP) at Fairlight Village Hall on Friday January 20th.
"I had a delicious lunch with MOPP members. It was a wonderful upbeat occasion. My congratulations to the organisers and the chef for putting on such a varied and fun event every Friday."
Fairlight resident Sylvia Gutsell, who helped set up MOPP, said:
"It was good to see our MP and everyone seemed to have a lovely time.
"MOPP has been a great success and the demand for it is growing all the time."
Photo and article, courtesy of The Hastings & Rye Observer.
1940's morning at MOPP, Fairlight Village Hall. Charles Perez (Partner, Just Property) and Fairlight Village Voice correspondent, Keith Pollard, judged the event.
Published on Friday 4 May 2012 11:55
Over 40 members of the Marsham Older People’s Project, in Fairlight, dressed up in 1940’s costume in what has been described as a ‘fantastic day’.
Prizes were awarded by Charles Prez, of Just Properties, and Keith Pollard, to the best costumes.
First prize winner wore his war-time uniform and the second prize winner came in her mother’s apron.
Co-ordinator of the day centre, Sylvia Gutsell, said: "Special thanks go to all the volunteers who dressed up as well and made the day special. Just Properties kindly helped with the prizes and our grateful thanks go to them as well".
Photo and article, courtesy of The Hastings & Rye Observer.
Meeting every Friday at Fairlight Village Hall, Broadway, Fairlight
between 10.00am and 2.30pm.
M.O.P.P. MARSHAM OLDER PEOPLES' PROJECT
Fairlight Village Hall,
01424 814 726
Only call between the hours of 9am and 2pm on fridays
You can also contact us, leave a message or make a comment by using our online
The Centre “which is a registered charity
Tel: 07905 981036