Rotarians raise over £1000 for solar panels for the health centre

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Last night St Leonards Rotary Club ran a terrific quiz night at the Elphinstone Sports and Social Club. Twenty-odd teams battled it out, answering John Easter’s clever questions as posed by Michael Foster, the genial quizmaster. Michael valiantly nursed the PA system until it finally gave up the ghost. In the end, old hands The Searchers pipped their nearest rivals by just 2 points. The raffle raised over £350 and a little auction £60, taking the evening’s total to over £1000, which goes a long way towards Rotary’s aim of raising £3,500 in the year with which to pay for solar panels for the community health centre. The Link would like to thank Eric, John and the team of markers and number crunchers from St Leonards Rotary Club, and Dave Pepper and the Elphinstone Sports & Social Club team for their hospitality and hard work.  STOP PRESS. We still have a couple of tables available for our own quiz night on March 13th. It’ll be at Ark William Parker Academy – amazing AV equipment. If you’re interested, act quickly – contact Nola on 01424 751295 or



The command centre at work

The command centre at work

Some of the winning team

Some of the winning team

Minutes of Link meeting of 28th January 2015

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Minutes of the ordinary general meeting of 28th January 2015

 Present: Christine Boulton-Lane, Richard Lane, Jacqui Lockwood, Richard Homewood (chair), Edwin Rew, Eve Martin, Janet Jarvis, Lynn White, Eileen & Bill Evans, Roger Mitchell, Nola McSweeney, Liz MacKay, Ray Keene, Cllr Nigel Sinden, Robin Gray (minutes)

  1. Apologies for absence: Paul Cabban, Mandy Hinxman, Sue Furness, Cllr Peter Pragnell, Derek Tomblin, Diane Reed, Melanie Bray, John Geater
  1. Minutes of the meeting of 19th November 2014. The minutes were accepted. There were no issues arising that were not covered later in today’s meeting.
  1. Recent fundraising events. (a) Carol singing. The carol singing in the St Helens Down area, organised this year by Stewart Anderson, was very successful and raised well over £300. The event in Priory Square, when Hastings Town Choir sang, raised just over £80. (b) Orange quiz sheets: Nola reported that these were more successful than ever, and raised £1049. There were more Internet sales this year, and a number of people donated more than £1. (c) Collections and Donations. St Helens Church has once again made a generous donation, of £175. Robin reminded members of 2 painless ways that we can use to swell Link funds: and Give As You Live. Not too painful might be to give a small amount on a regular monthly basis, through Charity Checkout. We currently receive £35 per month that way. (See Appendix A for details of all three methods.)
  1. Treasurer’s Report. Ray reported that our balance has increased by about £3k, in spite of our having sent £2005 as the first tranche of food aid. Dain Jensen’s marathon run raised an amazing £1265. The Big Jump has raised £978, plus a further £400 odd from Richard White. It has not yet been decided exactly how to divide this money between the schools and the ebola problem. Our schools raised £6194 for the SL schools staff (see item 6.) Our Health Working Party has made personal donations amounting to £500, for the Health Centre staff. The various campaigns, events and collections for ebola raised £5477.
  1. Future fundraising events. (a) Quiz Night – March 13th. Preparations are well in hand. Teams that have signed up must let Nola have their team’s name. Dain has again generously offered £250-worth of flooring – we will probably auction it to get the best possible value from it. Anyone who can volunteer to help during the evening should contact Nola (751295) if they haven’t yet done so.

(b) Valentine’s Day/ Twinning Party Feb 14th. Please contact Richard urgently (07712 088648) if you are interested in joining a small group going up to London for the event.

(c) Rotary events. St Leonards Rotarians hope to raise £3,500 in order to provide solar panels for the Health Centre. Their first event is a quiz night on February 25th. If you would like to get a team together, please book a table though Eric Garland (01424 753656) or via their website: The website gives some information about other events that the Rotarians are planning: a cycle challenge (26th April) and a concert (29th May).

(d) Ideas for 2015. (1) Lynn and Richard have pencilled in 20th June for a BBQ. Although the SL teachers cannot come this year, our teachers will still hold the traditional BBQ. (2) It was agreed that we would hold another jumble sale later in the year. (3) Lynn has been discussing the possibility of a dinner-dance at the Powdermills Hotel. She will convene a little working party to carry the idea forward. Roger suggested a ‘silent auction’ during the evening, with a brochure sent out beforehand detailing the lots to be auctioned. (4) A music quiz night was suggested, run with the help of Lynn’s friend Lesley-Ann Matthews, perhaps in September. Roger suggested that we could contact all the music groups in the town, to tap into a different audience from our March quiz night devotees. (5) Robin asked if we should be thinking about asking a local choir to put on a Christmas concert for us, but Roger advised that it was probably already too late.


  1. Schools Report. After commission, £6094 raised by our schools has been divided between 212 SL teachers (who have not been paid since all schools were closed in September). This money has been acknowledged with thanks by nearly all the SL schools. The British Council seems to accept that the 8 grants made for this year and not spent because of ebola, could fund an exchange next February as long as the account is closed by the end of January. This may require some creative accounting. Roger wonders if it may be possible to get some SL teachers over here this year. The SL schools are said to be re-opening in March, though Sue Furness has been told that Regmel will open in September.

Although deaths from ebola seem to have peaked, the number of sexual offences is rising and deaths from malaria are up. On a more positive note, Roger reported that the 7-a-side tournament is fixed for 22nd May at St Leonards Academy.


7 & 9(a): Food Aid Distribution. Richard reported that the first round of purchasing and distributing food had been a success. We still believe that it is safer to organise the aid this way, rather than to send money with much less chance of controlling where it goes. It was agreed that a further £2,500 would be sent in consultation with Yvette & Yvonne. Nola raised the issue of the number of children who have been orphaned by ebola. The meeting agreed that we should ask the committee overseeing food distribution to give priority to families who have taken orphans in. Christine suggested that at some future date we consider setting up a sponsorship scheme for orphans.


  1. Health Centre Report & 9 (b) Future Action. The Health Working Group’s report is attached (Appendix B). Christine summarised it, stressing that a functioning health centre is more vital than ever before. The report includes updates on personal protective equipment, the situation regarding water, electricity and sanitation at the centre, and Melanie’s work on the translation of health education DVDs. Sallu has not been well, but the Group will explore what now needs to be done, once Sallu is back at work and Derek has returned. The meeting agreed that we will look to fund the HWG’s recommendations when it is clear what the next step should be in providing equipment.


  1. AOB. We had been asked to participate in an 18 Hours benefit gig ‘Clean Water, Safe Children’ on 31st Jan. Although the funds to be raised are already committed to 3 national charities, 18 Hours has agreed to devote money raised from one item in the evening to the Link’s work. Nigel kindly agreed to take a supply of the updated Link information leaflet to the event.


  1. Date of Next Meeting. Wednesday 18th March in Committee Room 1 at the Town Hall, Hastings at 6.05. (confirmed)


Appendix A.

 Two painless ways for us as individuals to increase the Link’s income:

(1) Sign up with, and specify that you support the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link. You make your Home Page, and that way, whenever you’re searching on line, Everyclick makes a small contribution to the Link. When you’re asked for our registered charity number, it’s 1127137.

(2) Much more productively, use Everyclick’s “Give As You Live” feature. When you look for a particular item that you intend to buy on-line, Everyclick will flag up all those retailers that will donate to the Link a percentage of the money you spend – without any further cost to you. There are thousands of big names that have signed up to this, from Tesco, M&S and John Lewis to Healthspan and . For example, Healthspan pays 6% of a new customer’s first order to the charity you name, and 1.5% subsequently.

Of course, not quite so painlessly, there’s also the possibility of ‘regular giving’ via Charity Checkout on our website ( . At the moment, we receive a very useful £35 per month plus Gift Aid from 4 supporters.

Appendix B


  1. Christine reported as follows:-

The £700 for the extra PPE had been received and spent on the equipment for which it was requested. Photographs showing this equipment in use had been received.            In November, The Health Centre facilitated part of a two day training course for 120 Health Care Workers covering life-saving skills, emergency obstetrics and neonatal care. There have been two rounds of mass drug administration of antimalarial drugs recently.            The £500 sent personally by the Health Sub-Committee had been received and divided between all the Staff, including those who work voluntarily. This was sent as a gesture of our appreciation of what they are doing under such difficult circumstances. (This was a similar gesture to that which had been undertaken by the Link Teachers).      Sallu, the CHO, had had an accident on this way to work at the end of November and had damaged his leg. Although he had continued working, he was due to undergo an operation during the week commencing 19th January


2 Derek reported as follows based on reports received from the CHO

Concern Worldwide (a major charity working in SL) – We have been told that CW have agreed to arrange and pay for contracts for the deepening of the water well, two ventilated pit latrines and entrance screening.      When we have contact details, Derek will try to establish their exact commitment, technically, to avoid any overlap with what we have done and are proposing to do.

            Water Although Kainde Pearce’s team have advised that there is no water problem, the CHO says there is no supply and patients have had to bring their own. He advises that the pump is still functional but that the well has dried up hence the deepening  proposed by CW. Hopefully contact with them will establish the current situation, technically to ascertain whether deepening would be successful.   Once the supply is restored it will be necessary to check that the internal plumbing is functional to all facilities.

            Electricity The CHO advises that there is still no mains power (or funds to clear the bills) but that the generator that we provided can be used (providing there is fuel). We are hopeful that solar power will eventually be provided for all facilities in the building from funding being raised by St Leonards Rotarians.

            Perimeter Wall & Internal Works Although the site is now secured by the wall and steel gates, there are still finishing works to be completed together with finishing works within the building. Sufficient funds have been provided for this but, realistically, it seems unlikely that any more works will be carried out before the Ebola crisis has subsided.

Septic Tank The construction of a new septic tank, to replace the cesspool that the  new extension covered over, was part of the Extension Works and we understood that it had been constructed. Derek will therefore query with CW, when he makes contact, why they are proposing to construct pit latrines. Maybe they are not aware of the septic tank.

  1. Melanie B reported that work continues on the DVDs. A Warwick University Student is now helping on the translations.
  1. Discussion took place on the future cultivation of the land at the Health Centre and it was hoped that this venture could be undertaken in the not too distant future to enable nourishing food to be provided for those attending the Centre.
  1. The sub-committee raised three specific issues

a)   It was felt that consideration should now be given to re-equipping the extension to the Health Centre.

b) Nutrition.   It was hoped that a further sum of money would be sent shortly to assist with food for those in need in Hastings

c) The sub-Committee would continue to obtain items for transportation to the Health Centre when it was felt that it was the correct time to undertake this.


  1. The date of the next meeting of the sub-committee will be decided in due course.

CBL     19/1/15


Orange Quiz Sheet – the winners and the answers!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Phew, it’s all over! The Quizmaster’s woolly hat has turned up 3 winners from the 18 fully correct entries we received. They are:

1st prize: Hilary Coulson of Pinner, Middlesex

2nd prize: Pam & John Robbins of Battle, East Sussex

3rd prize: Bill Ross of Aberdeen

This year we had 79 entries in all,  from all over the UK, from Somerset to Skegness, and from Cwmbran to Selkirk.

Here are the answers (and some explanations) for this year’s Orange Quiz Sheet. (Entries had to be in to us by yesterday.)

It’s hard to say exactly how many sheets we sold, but we raised over £1000 – partly because quite a few kind people paid more than the £1 we asked for. All that money will be turned into food parcels to help families affected by ebola in Hastings Sierra Leone to survive. A big thank you to Nola and her team who sold the sheets for us.

We hope you all enjoyed solving the clues as much as the setter did dreaming them up.

Quiz sheet 2014/15 – answers, with a few explanations of the trickier ones. (Apologies for a mistake in earlier copies of the sheet: nº 69 (Schweitzer) needed 10 letters, not 9. Hope that didn’t spoil things for you.)


  1. NHS ( – the even letters of ‘inches’)
  2. Red Cross
  3. Guy’s
  4. WHO
  5. Médecins sans Frontières
  6. stretcher
  7. corridor (corrida minus –a + or)
  8. ENT (end of the word ‘patient’)
  9. surgery (hidden in patientS URGE Rye)
  10. bedpans (B.Ed + pans = criticises)
  11. x-rays (x = 10, rays = flat fish)
  12. plaster cast
  13. enema (your: = your colon)
  14. syringe (hidden answer)
  15. nil by mouth (fast = take no food; nil = Nile minus –e. )
  16. rounds
  17. the bleeding time (in ‘Doctor in the House’)
  18. placebo (plaice minus –i- [iodine] plus b[ody] o[dour])
  19. keyhole
  20. toxin (sounds like tocsin)
  21. splint (splinter minus –er)
  22. bandage (band + age! the Stones were formed in 1962)
  23. temperature
  24. autoclave (Auto + cave with –L- in it. Whole thing is a steriliser)
  25. skin grafts (s= southern, plus kin, + grafts = works hard)
  26. blanket bath
  27. rectal thermometers (anagram)
  28. waiting room
  29. appointment (app[lication] ointment)
  30. receptionist (reception is also the first class in an infants school)
  31. stethoscope (2 anagrams)
  32. sphygmomanometer (anagram – it measures blood pressure)
  33. ninety-nine (- this is clue nº 33)
  34. depressor
  35. general practice (various grades of general are just above brigadier)
  36. house calls
  37. appendix (anagram)
  38. patella (kneecap: Pat [Boone] + Ella [Fitzgerald])
  39. pancreas ([Saint] Pancras plus –e- )
  40. knuckle-bones (children’s game)
  41. elbow
  42. collar bone (nick = collar [arrest] + bon + E)
  43. mastoid (anagram)
  44. glottis (OTT inside [not outside] glis: glis glis is scientific name for dormouse)
  45. prostate
  46. trachea (answer hidden in extra cheap)
  47. coccyx (cox + six. coccyx means cuckoo in Greek – bone like bird’s beak. Cubs are divided into sixes.)
  48. angina pectoris (anagram)
  49. enuresis (anagram of i.e. nurses)
  50. diarrhoea (anagram of Air Rhodesia minus –is-)
  51. scurvy
  52. whitlow (WHITe + yelLOW)
  53. psittacosis (viral disease of birds)
  54. haemorrhoids (anagram)
  55. asthma (anagram)
  56. bed sore (anagram)
  57. MRSA (anagram)
  58. nurse (hidden, backwards, in shoES RUNning)
  59. chaplain (chap + lain)
  60. almoner (almond minus –d , plus er…)
  61. surgeon (sturgeon minus T for time)
  62. physio (sounds like fizzy eau. shortly = short for [physiotherapist])
  63. consultants (consult + ants)
  64. Hippocrates (hippo + crates)
  65. Pasteur (pasture has the –e- at the end)
  66. Lister (developed antisepsis. to list = to keel over, of a ship)
  67. Crick & Watson (discovered the DNA double helix)
  68. Nightingale (Florence N)
  69. Schweitzer (sounds like the German for Swiss, even though he wasn’t)
  70. Nye Bevan (anagram of Benny + Eva. ‘top of chart:’ see clue nº 1 – This Welsh politician devised the NHS)


Ebola Campaign: our Chairman (and others) for the high jump

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014


Here is Richard’s account of their amazing jump to raise funds to fight Ebola in Hastings SL. (If you didn’t get around to sponsoring them, there’s still time!)

Matt, Richard W, Richard H, Hollie & Ellen

Matt, Richard W, Richard H, Hollie & Ellen

Oh no!

Oh no!

Here we go!

Here we go!




Well we finally did it! Fifth time lucky for the five of us (Richard Homewood, Matt and Hollie Lockwood and Richard and Ellen White), but only after a bit of last minute forecast watching and date swapping. Saturday was forecast as a washout so we managed to get a Sunday slot and set off in the wind and rain at 5am not sure if we would jump. As the journey went on the rain stopped and as daylight approached we started to drive into fog! Not looking good especially when just before we arrived we got a text to say don’t come till 11am because it is too foggy! Undaunted we arrived just before 8.00am to see the airfield shrouded in mist and fog. It did seem to be clearing though and confidence was growing. In anticipation of a long wait we ordered breakfast and then just as it arrived at the table we were called to get kitted up! Typical! Breakfast had to go as we were not going to miss the opportunity. We kitted up and after a refresh of what to do we headed for the plane in nervous anticipation. Everyone was laughing and joking and full of confidence as we climbed higher and higher, until the door opened that was! Watching the first two being shuffled to the door and hung out as the camera man swung from the wing the laughter turned to a grimace as it was my turn to be pushed forward. Then that was it we were out but once we stopped rolling the sensation of hurtling to the earth at over 130mph was incredible, the view was unbelievable and shaking hands with the cameraman in free fall was bizarre.

Then after 5,000ft we jerked upward (or actually slowed down rapidly) as the parachute opened and things calmed dramatically and we gently dropped to earth soaking up the view and chatting. Then it was time to prepare for the landing and discussion about leaving legs in holes if we didn’t get it right! A quick rehearsal and then all too suddenly we hit the ground, sliding in gently thankfully onto some pretty soft grass, adrenalin pumping and cheers and shouts as we congratulated each other. An amazing experience and one I would repeat, but more importantly we had overcome our fears for the sake of the charity and the people we want to help in Sierra Leone where they are now suffering the ravages of Ebola directly in addition to their daily struggle. And that is where you come in and we are all extremely grateful for your generosity and support for the cause. We expect that we will have raised over £2,000 in total once it is all collected, but there is still time to donate if you or your friends want to. In case there is any doubt we have all paid for our own jump and all of our other expenses out of our own pockets, so every penny of the money generously donated will go directly to the charity and to the community in Hastings, Sierra Leone, and make a difference.

Thank you once again for your generosity.  Please check on the website at <>  for updates on our work with our friends in our twin town Hastings, Sierra Leone.

Richard Homewood, Richard White, Ellen White, Hollie Lockwood, Matt Lockwood

Fundraising Cheese Fest – whatever next?

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Jo Avery (a work colleague of Roger Reed who is married to Diane, one of our teachers) ran a Cheese Fest last week at the Department for Transport, where they work. Jo writes: “People made cheese scones, straws, brought in all different sorts of cheeses and someone even made homemade cheese! My friend came up with the idea of a “Say Cheese” baby toddler competition, where we brought in photos of ourselves and had to guess each other. We even had colleagues from our London office switch their day to Hastings to be involved.” Apparently they went for a cheese based event as a change from a coffee & cake morning. They raised £167 for our Ebola appeal (and wisely gift-aided it!), which is a great boost. It should pay for 3 sets of protective gear for the Health Centre staff.Scruptious cheesy spread at the DoT

If anyone out there has a good idea like this one and would like to raise some much needed funds for the Link’s work in Hastings Sierra Leone, please don’t hesitate!  It’s clear from all the reports that are coming from journalists and medics in Sierra Leone, that there’s already a huge need not only for medical supplies but also for humanitarian aid to support hungry families and, saddest of all, orphaned children.  We don’t know the exact picture for Hastings, but we need to be ready to give the help that’s needed.

Gala concert raises the roof – and over £2500 for the fight against ebola

Friday, October 31st, 2014

After the amazing concert on 17th October, Richard sent the following notice to the Hastings & St Leonards Observer:

The RoCoCo singers sang African songs

The RoCoCo singers sang African songs

Richard talks to the audience while Sussex Brass have a breather

Richard talks to the audience while Sussex Brass have a breather

Many of our Sierra Leonean friends came down to enjoy the concert

Many of our Sierra Leonean friends came down to enjoy the concert

Sussex Brass, African Drummers and the RoCoCo choir joined forces on Friday evening to lift the roof off of St Mary in the Castle and raise much needed funds to support the Community Health Centre in Hastings Sierra Leone. Nearly two hundred people attended and were treated to a wide variety of music with an African theme, and a fine African-style supper.
Richard Homewood, Chair of the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link said “This is an amazing result and we have to thank those who attended for their generosity in supporting this event to raise funds for the community in our Twin Town. There was singing, clapping and dancing in the aisles and I think everybody had a wonderful time. The money will help us provide much needed equipment and resources to keep the Community Health Centre going when the focus of the government and other agencies is clearly on trying to tackle the Ebola crisis on a larger scale.
Our thanks must go to Buckswood School who provided the venue free of charge, to our former Chair, Roger Mitchell who organised the event (as well as playing in Sussex Brass), and of course the musicians who all gave amazing performances.”
The Link has a continuing programme of fund raising events, a quiz night and a recent Jumble Sale raised over £1,000 each and a group of Link supporters are due to make a parachute jump (as soon as the weather permits!). Richard said,
“We are continuously looking for new ways to raise funds to help our friends in Sierra Leone at a time when they desperately need it. I am sure nobody can fail to be moved by the tragic events unfolding in West Africa. Having visited Sierra Leone several times in recent years, I know what a difference every penny we raise can make to their lives in difficult times”
You can donate on line at or by post, cheques made out to HSLFL and sent to HSLFL Treasurer, 33 Senlac Way, St Leonards on Sea, TN37 7JG

Telling Hastings UK about the ebola situation

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Our member Nola asked our local hospital if we could have a stand in the hospital foyer for a day, to tell patients, visitors and staff about how ebola is affecting Hastings SL. We had lots of useful conversations, received over £80 in donations, and sold quite a few of this year’s ORANGE QUIZ SHEET.  If you like cryptic crosswords, just send your email address and £1 (a coin, or a cheque made out to HSLFL) to Robin Gray, Oaklands, Rock Lane, Hastings, East Sussex TN35 4NY, and Robin will email you back a copy. You have until mid-January to puzzle it all out. There are money prizes! – But we hope you’ll enjoy the clues, anyway. They’re all about the NHS, medicine and health, very appropriately. Any good at anagrams? How about ‘O horrid shame of these’ (12 letters).

Nola and Tom at the Conquest Hospital

Nola and Tom at the Conquest Hospital

Ebola campaign

Monday, September 15th, 2014
Inside the new ebola treatment centre

Inside the new ebola treatment centre

Security is tight at the new ebola treatment centre

Security is tight at the new ebola treatment centre

The rebuilt water-tower

The rebuilt water-tower


The ebola treatment centre has now been set up in the Police Training Academy on the outskirts of the village, and the UK Government is setting up another one on the Hastings airfield. But ebola has reached the Hastings community itself. Experience elsewhere has shown that health workers are at grave risk, and so are their families.  We need to do EVERYTHING we can to provide Sallu, the Hastings health centre manager, and his amazing team with the best possible chance of coping with the threat. With funding from the Link, the men of the village have rebuilt the water-tower and topped it with a new tank, so that basic hygiene precautions can be kept up.  In addition, we have sent out 55 boxes of disinfectant, soap, rubber gloves, face masks and other preventative measures. But we must keep these first supplies topped up, and the health centre staff really need much better protective gear. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to respond to this urgent appeal. You and they can donate by hitting the Donate button above.

Please rest assured that every penny will be spent directly on protecting the health centre and the people of Hastings SL.



Gala Concert for the Link – Friday October 17th

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Hope everyone enjoyed the concert!  I’ll post some photos when I receive them. A huge thank you to Sussex Brass, Vincent Salzfas and his fellow drummer, and the Robertsbridge Community Choir – and Yvonne and her team for the marvellous buffet, as well as to all those who put up posters, left flyers, sold tickets (thank you, Hastings Information Centre!) and helped on the night.We raised over £2000 for medical supplies for the health centre in Hastings SL. Ray is still counting, so if you have monies from ticket sales to your friends please get it to Ray a.s.a.p.

September 20th: a parachute jump AND a posh jumble sale!

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

Our chairman, Richard Homewood, led a little group of crazy Link supporters to make a parachute jump over Salisbury Plain at the end of August. Unfortunately, the weather closed in at the last minute, and they had to postpone the jump. They’ll be trying again on Saturday 20th September. If you haven’t already sponsored these brave people, please do!  See the Charity Checkout link on this website. The money raised will be used to support our schools and health centre projects in Hastings SL.

On the same day, as it happens, we’re have a ‘Posh Jumble Sale’ at Christ Church, London Road, St Leonards – from 10 to 12. If you have any saleable items, let us know ( and we’ll pick them up, or why not bring them along early on the Saturday morning?


Jumble Sale poster

The Big Jump!

The Big Jump!