Family BBQ in the woods at Hastings : Saturday 20th July

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Bring the kids to a family BBQ in  St Helen’s Woods, Hastings, from 3pm to 7pm on Saturday 20th July!  Once again, we’re raising money for the mother-and-baby unit in Hastings Village, Sierra Leone, so the whole afternoon will have an African flavour: not just the music and the food , but it’d be fun if as many children as possible came in some kind of African fancy dress. (But they don’t have to!)  There’ll be woodland activities, too, and face-painting,  a raffle and a lucky dip. Tickets (£5 adults, £3 children: includes 2 BBQ items and your first drink) from the Hastings Information Centre on the seafront, or through the Secretary on in the Woods!

Minutes of ordinary general meeting of June 11th

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Ordinary general meeting 11th June 2014-06-13




Present: Melanie Bray, Christine Boulton-Lane, Edwin Rew, Eileen Evans, Liz MacKay, Derek Tomblin (chair) Nola McSweeney, Diane Reed, Roger Mitchell, Cllr Nigel Sinden, Michael Foster, Lynn White, Robin Gray (minutes)


1. Apologies for Absence: Gillian Rubi, Cllrs Peter Pragnell and Jeremy Birch, Paul Cabban, John Geater, Mandy Hinxman, Richard Homewood, Ernie Grice, Stella Underwood, Ray Keene, Bill Evans


2. Minutes of ordinary general meeting of 23rd April and matters arising not covered in today’s agenda: The minutes were approved. The meeting noted two slight clarifications that Ray Keene requested. In §2, the apparent large loss on the calendars was due partly to an accounting error, and partly to the fact that more calendar sales money trickled in subsequently. In §8 (ii), the Gold Account still does pay interest, although at a fairly low rate.


3. Chairman’s Report. Robin conveyed Richard’s apologies that he was not able to chair what would have been his first meeting as Link chairman. Richard had sent word that the posters, flyers and advanced sales vouchers for the BBQ on July 12th would be ready next week. He will convene a meeting of the BBQ sub-committee as soon as he gets back. Members will then need urgently to distribute posters etc in the schools and in the community.


4. Treasurer’s Report. The meeting considered Ray’s statement of our balances as at 21st April, but there were no questions arising. Derek explained that £4883 rather than a round £5k had been sent as a first tranche for the Health Centre Wall, simply because there was already £117 unused in the account over there. Robin to attach to the Minutes a few pictures of the early work on the wall.


5. Schools Report inc May exchange visit. Roger reported that the teachers’ exchange trip had gone very well, although only Kainde Pearce of the parallel local authority group came, because of visa problems. The English teachers have now met and agreed that the programme was too tiring. In future, a free evening will be built into the programme, as well as an opportunity for a school’s SL visitor to meet the whole staff. We will take on board some advice from Hull about providing visitors with a ‘welcome pack’ to include a limited amount of GBPs for personal use. All schools will be submitting a grant application by 30th June.

Castledown School (linked with St Malumba Catholic School) no longer wishes to be part of the partnership scheme. As it happens, Christ Church School wants a genuinely curriculum-based partnership, so will probably link with St Malumba rather than Kankaylay. The future of St Leonards Cof E School’s link is uncertain. Roger stressed a serious problem with some links, in that SL schools sometimes see a partnership unrealistically in terms of financial support, whereas the true purpose of a partnership is to support global curriculum work and foster mutual understanding. Sue Furness has kindly agreed to lead the next teachers’ exchange trip, in 2015.

We discussed the problem of shipping goods to SL. The swimming pool at St Paul’s is still available as a collecting and storage point, but the question remains as to whether we can spend £3-4k on shipping items that may in any case be worth less than that. It is agreed that anything we send must be what is actually needed. Lynn and Diane stressed that they know from their exchange partner Irene that the school books etc sent out were all considered very useful. Melanie wondered if we could not share shipping costs with the Waterloo group. Edwin has visited an on-line forum to see if there is a possibility of sharing with another client of the Rokel Shipping Co, but has had no reply. Robin is to look out an earlier contact from a naval officer who suggested that the Navy has ships that call at Freetown every few months.

Michael reported that St Leonards Rotarians are hoping to support us with a significant donation, though that would have to be linked to a specific need that had been established. After some discussion, it was agreed that the Health Centre has an urgent need for a generator and an electric pump. Derek will cost these out and report back Michael acting for the Rotarians. In any event, one would source items in SL, get them bought through the MOSH (the health authority), and then reimburse the MOSH.


6. Other report. (a) Health. Christine reported that Sallu has informed her that the shelving is completed and an additional cupboard built. The next meeting of the working group is on June 23rd.

(b) Water. Derek reported that the wells (at Edest and Jui) have been completed. It must of course be understood that these were separate projects run by the two schools (Little Ridge and Dudley Infants) in response to a particular need. Our schools are not normally to be seen as just fundraisers. Melanie wondered if solar panels would not be the way to power water-pumps. Derek reminded us that there are still significant problems with the cost of batteries.


7. Events and fundraising. (a) Family BBQ in St Helen’s Woods on Saturday July 12th (3pm – 7pm). See also § 3 above. Robin will email out posters as soon as HBC graphics department has finished them. Members will have to help with publicity, distributing flyers, putting notices on trees in the woods etc. Robin to ask the Preservation Society to put the event in its newsletter. Roger doubted if the schools would have a lot of time to devote to publicising the event.

(b) Concert in St Mary-in-the-Castle on October 17th. This is a free let by kind permission of Buckswood School. The programme will be split between Sussex Brass, a drummer who specialises in West African drumming, and Robertsbridge Community Choir with a medley of Africa-inspired songs. We hope Yvonne and Yvette will provide a buffet. The ticket price was agreed as £15, to include the buffet. The meeting discussed other practical details: seating layout, stewards, the title of the event for the posters etc. Roger will ensure it is publicised in the Hastings Week brochure and website.

Roger also reported that Roger Wilcock has agreed to put on a Big Choir concert for us in 2015.

(c) Talks and presentations. Derek and Robin have given an illustrated talk to the St Leonards Rotarians (see §5 above). Christine has recently given two illustrated talks.

(d) “Posh” Jumble Sale on Saturday 20th September. At Christ Church Hall – organised by Christine and Liz. We are asked to start putting good quality items aside. Liz can help find storage. Many helpers will be needed on the day.


8. AOB. (1) The matter of a mention of Hastings Sierra Leone on the Rye Road twinning sign was raised again. Michael will contact Jeremy Birch.

(2) Roger has some rectangles of tie-dyed fabric (roughly table set size) produced by a group of women run by Francis Mason’s wife (to help women earn a little money). Please contact him ( if you think you could sell some.

(3) Roger asked us to think about our next project. He suggests that we could address the needs of polio victims. Michelle d’Acosta (who distributed the crutches we collected in 2011) has an interesting project underway for polio victims in Freetown: see or her Youtube clip: . Edwin observed that the King’s College Sierra Leone Health Partnership has an interest in polio.

(4) Roger observed that this year’s Thanksgiving Service is on September 14th. Please let Robin know if you would be interested in joining a party to go up to London – we could hire a minibus again.


9. Date of Next Meeting. Wednesday 3rd September at 6.05 in the Town Hall (confirmed).




Blocks are being made

Blocks are being made

The foundations

The foundations

Making pillars

Making pillars

Reinforced pillars

Reinforced pillars


Minutes of 2014 AGM

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Annual General Meeting

held at the Town Hall, Hastings, on 10th May 2014


The formal business was preceded by an African-style buffet lunch provided by Yvonne, Yvette and Janet. Once again the Link would like to express its appreciation for our London friends’ hugely generous kindness and support.

Minutes of the meeting

 Present: Yvonne Johnson, Yvette John, Janet Seisay, Tunde Rahman, Emmanuel Nylander, Eileen Evans, Bill Evans, Margaret Mitchell, Liz Mackay, Linda Astell, Tania Kavanagh, Ray Keene,  Christine Boulton-Lane, Alison Day, Janet Jarvis, Corinne Harris, Mandy Hinxman, Carole Cabban, Paul Cabban, Cllr Peter Pragnell, Cllr Eve Martin, Sue Furness, Jacqui Lockwood, Roger Mitchell (chair §1), Nola McSweeney, Richard Lane, Richard Homewood (chair §2), Derek Tomblin, Lynn White, Cllr Eve Martin, Melanie Bray, Cllr Nigel Sinden, Cllr Jeremy Birch, John Geater, Robin Gray (minutes)

1. Apologies for absence: Angela Gartland, Richard White, Diane Reed, Jane Smith, Michael & Rosemary Foster, Amber Rudd MP, Anne Hanney, Stella Underwood,  Ernie Grice, Edwin Rew.

2. Minutes of AGM 2013 and matters arising.  With one correction (the AGM 2013 was held at Little Ridge School, not at St Paul’s School as indicated erroneously in the heading), the minutes were accepted as a true record and signed by the chairman. There were no matters arising.

3. Chairman’s report.  Roger presented his written report for the calendar year 2013 (see Appendix A), and commented on some events that have taken place in the early months of 2014.  February ’14 saw the largest exchange visit to SL to date: 20 participants. Much more work was seen to be done at the health centre; most of the 2 schools partnerships are going well. Roger thanked all those who have helped to make the Link’s work so successful, though he urged that we make every effort to involve more people in order to spread the load.

4. Election of officers.  Roger having decided to stand down after a two year stint as chairman, nominations for the chairmanship had been invited. Richard Homewood had been proposed by Ray Keene and seconded by Lynn White, and had agreed to allow his name to be put forward. There being no other nominations, this was put to the vote and carried unanimously, and Richard took the chair for the rest of the meeting.


Richard thanked Roger for his great work as chairman, and said that no doubt he will turn to Roger for advice as he endeavours to follow such a hard act. As no nominations for the other executive officer posts had been received, and since the current officers (Derek Tomblin: vice-chair; Bill Evans: membership secretary; Ray Keene: treasurer; Robin Gray: secretary) were willing to continue for another year, this was put to the vote and carried unanimously.

 5. Membership Renewal. Bill asked members to make sure that they let him know if they change their email address, since Bill depends on email to send out membership reminders etc. We consider our friends from the Hastings Association UK Branch to be automatically members of the Link, but Yvonne insisted that her association will be paying a lump sum donation of £50 to cover their affiliation.

6. Treasurer’s Report.   Ray presented his accounts, together with a written explanation (for the latter, see Appendix B). Ray reminded us that the accounts are complicated by the fact that payments in and payments out straddle the end of the calendar year.  The quiz sheets and quiz night in 2013 raised £1867, whereas in 2014 they raised £2323. Our thanks go to all who help with these, and in particular to Nola.  Nola will not be able to devote such a lot of time and energy to selling the orange sheets in future, and hopes that it will be possible to set up a team to cover this work, this autumn. She will be happy to advise.  Roger observed that even if we made a small loss (about £500) on the calendars this time, their publicity value was still considerable. Mandy wondered if the format was quite right: perhaps a smaller, narrower calendar might sell better. It was agreed that if we decide to produce a calendar again, we will discuss the format.

Ray noted that the accounts had been accepted by the Trustees.

7. Any Other Business.

(1) Roger reminded us that the second half of the exchange runs from 17th to 24th May. The soccer tournament takes place on Friday 23rd at St Leonards Academy (ex-FVS) at 1.30.  All are welcome. Cars should be parked in Filsham Road.

(2) Christine reminded us that the BBQ on July 12th is to be a family affair, running from 3pm to 7pm. Details to follow.

(3) Roger told us that this year’s Thanksgiving service for the twinning link takes place on Sunday 14th September at 3pm, followed by a meal. He hopes we will be well represented.

(4) Roger announced that there will be a fundraising concert on 17th October at 7.30pm in St.Mary-in-the-Castle. Music by Sussex Brass and others.

(5) Derek proposed that we release two tranches of £5k from the Gold account in order to allow work to start on the perimeter wall around the health centre, to safeguard the site and the well. Ray seconded the proposal, and it was carried nem con. Robin noted that he has put in a bid to the British High Commission for some funding towards this, but we have not yet heard the result of this application.

(6) Christine confirmed that she will be organising a team to run a ‘posh jumble sale’ in September or October. The church hall at Christ Church in London Road is available to us. Liz Mackay has kindly offered storage. We are all encouraged to start putting items aside.

(7) John urged that ‘Hastings Sierra Leone’ be added to the list of our twin towns on the sign on the Rye Road. Jeremy promised to raise the matter with the Council.

(8) Robin noted that the Round Table has invited local charities to bid for a pitch at the Beer & Music Festival in early July. The winner will run, and have the profits from, a ’bungee run’ plus £500. Two runners-up will have a pitch for their information stand plus £250. He will put in a bid.

8. Date of next ordinary general meeting: Wednesday 11th June at 6.05 in the Town Hall.

The formal business of the AGM was followed by presentations arising out of the February trip and updating us on current progress.

(1) Alison and Corinne spoke movingly of their experiences as first-time visitors to Sierra Leone, and about the work they did with the teachers and children in their partner schools.  They were deeply impressed by the welcome they received, by the dedication of the (often unpaid) teachers, and by the children’s thirst for education.

(2) Derek outlined the work that has been done to supply wells to Edest School and Jui School with funds raised by Dudley Infants and Little Ridge respectively. Derek explained why a well is the best option for supplying water in the area. The two wells now have fully functioning hand-pump systems.

(3) Christine described the multi-faceted work that Sallu Lansana and his team are carrying out at the health centre. She showed pictures of an important meeting at the Twin Town Centre for the launch of an important Helen Keller Foundation project to provide a programme of injections for babies. Since the visit, Sallu has reported that the two boxes of medicines sourced by Liz and handed over by Christine had already saved the lives of 4 women. Looking to the future, Christine stressed how important it is that we work with the SL health authority and the health centre, supporting them and not imposing our own expectations.

(4) Richard echoed Alison’s description of the emotions one feels in Hastings SL. He described the huge waste management problems the Freetown area faces, and re-capped the initiatives undertaken in 2010 & 2011 – composting, education, a British Council schools seminar, a mini-conference in the UK etc. He felt that that much of that early momentum is lost; but that although national projects are too big for us, he will continue to refine the biogas digester system he has introduced, in the hope that it will be more and more widely adopted in the Hastings area.

Appendix A

Chairperson’s Annual Report 2013

Management:            Committee Meetings: Our General Committee met four times during the year to hear reports from the Treasurer and the conveners of sub-committees and to discuss all issues affecting the work of the Link. Sub-Committee Meetings:  Regular meetings of the sub-committees for Health and for Education took place throughout the year.

Partnership Activities with the Community of Hastings Sierra Leone

Exchange Visits:  In February a party of 12 travelled to Sierra Leone accompanied by Yvonne Johnson. Of these 10 worked for a week in schools and two worked with the staff of the Health Centre.  Five of the teachers benefitted from British Council grants while the rest of the party were either subsidised by their schools or funded themselves.  In May a party of 9 teachers from Sierra Leone spent a week in their partner schools and enjoyed a full programme of activities in the locality.

On-going Projects:            Health Centre:            During the year the building of the extension to the Health Centre continued and at the end of the year was nearing completion. During and since the visit to the Health Centre in February the sub-committee has been increasingly concerned about building a perimeter wall around the premises, both as a protection against vandalism and ‘land-grabbing’. This is a costly undertaking since the area concerned is about an acre. The enhancement of the equipment and drug resources available to the Centre has also been a concern that has met with some success.

Waste and Recycling:  Richard Homewood reported mixed success in the development of this work in the absence of a grant to enable personal visits to trouble-shoot some of the difficulties that arose in the operation of bio-digesters. Materials used in the construction of recycling containers were stolen. It has been encouraging to have some local technical support, particularly from the Kissy Technical Institute, and plans were made for Richard and others to join the exchange party in 2014.

Schools:            We were encouraged as 5 more pairs of schools (making 12 partnerships in all) were recruited as partners during the year and applications for further grants from the British Council were successful.  This enabled plans to be laid for even larger parties of teachers to be to be exchanged in 2014. The enthusiasm of schools involved is spreading. Despite this there was concern that, as some schools moved to academy status, this enthusiasm might not be shared by their new managements.

Fund Raising:            The main concern during the year was to raise sufficient funding to secure the Health Centre. A range of events took place:

  • Over the Christmas period 2012 and into 2013 the ‘orange quiz sheets’ designed by Robin Gray and Nola McSweeney were very popular as was the hugely successful quiz night masterminded by the same team in March.
  • Some used the LOAF Walk in May to raise sponsorship.
  • Attendance at the St Leonards Festival raised some interest.
  • A Prom Concert given by Sussex Brass in Hastings Week drew a good attendance. It was wonderful to have a large contingent of our Sierra Leonean friends from London joining us and donating a very significant sum that had been raised by them and a further gift from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Collier Row.
  • Robin Gray worked tirelessly to produce a calendar. Prints of places in 1066 Country by local artists made a beautiful Christmas gift but sadly did not sell as well as had been hoped.
  • Robin has made application to a number of grant-making trusts including Comic Relief without success during the year. The expenditure of so much effort for so little return is discouraging.
  • Two schools committed themselves to raising funds to provide wells at their partners’ premises. Other schools undertook a variety of fund-raising efforts to enable teacher exchanges beyond the British Council funding and made significant educational resources available to their partners.

Goods to Sierra Leone: A container was sent out at the end of 2012 and arrived safely. Goods for a second were assembled at St Paul’s School and packed at the end of 2013 for transit. A large quantity of educational material was assembled along with medical supplies for the Health Centre. The gross cost of sending such a container, needing to be bonded until opened by reliable people in Hastings, amounted to nearly £3500. Whether such an outlay is good value was of concern to the committee.

Partnership with the Sierra Leone Hastings Association (UK):  We continued to be privileged to have such good friends amongst the Sierra Leonean diaspora in London. Your chairman and his wife were warmly welcomed at the Association’s Valentine Dance. A group of 21 from the Link attended the Association’s annual Thanksgiving Service in September and were royally received. Yvonne Johnson and Yvette John and others were regular visitors to our events in Hastings, always bringing a choice buffet – to the LOAF Walk, the AGM, the School Soccer Tournament, and the Hastings Week Concert.

To sum up, 2013 was a successful year for the Link in many ways with significant advances in Health and Education cooperation. Our concern must be that we have not gained greatly in committed membership.  We need to find ways of communicating a clear vision of what we can achieve in future to a wider constituency.

I close by thanking my colleague officers on the Committee and Trustees of the Link for their hard work throughout the year. Beyond those with specific roles there are many others who attend our rather ad-hoc Committee and support at various events and in different ways during the year .The encouragement we receive from within Hastings Borough Council and among its officers is greatly valued.

Roger Mitchell. May 2014


Appendix B

Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link


Treasurer’s Report for year ended 31 December 2013

 Firstly let me say that the figures within these comments relate to the last financial year and as such are somewhat historical.

In the year income totalled £50,941 (all figures to nearest pound) of which £18,813 was normal income with the balance of £32,129 relating to the visits to & from Sierra Leone in early 2013 and the advance payment of air fares by those who travelled in February 2014.

Similarly the expenditure for 2013 totalled £54,400 of which £34,179 related to the exchanges in 2013 and the payment of air fares relating to the trip in February 2014.

There was a shortfall of £1,408 between income & expenses before the exchange trip transactions which increased to £3,458 in total. The exchange trip timings mean that the income & expenses for these events bridge two financial years but all costs are covered from the schools & individuals concerned except that our charity pays the costs for Mrs Y Johnson who is invaluable in assisting the smooth running of the visits to Sierra Leone.

The main income was derived from the quiz in early 2013 which, together with the sales of the Orange quiz sheets, raised £1,867 after costs. The LOAF walk raised £625 whilst the Sussex Brass concert raised £755 net of costs.

We continue to receive support from Hastings Borough Council in connection with the official twinning with Hastings, Sierra Leone both financially and in the provision of a meeting room and other services.

Robin Gray, our Secretary, produced and distributed a calendar for 2014 with sales being made through outlets in the town and through supporters. The printing and design costs were £4,810 and in the financial year we received sale proceeds of £2260. With further amounts in 2014 a total of £4,289 was received. A further £151 was retained by our linked schools for their own funds.

During the year we received donations of £1,000 each from the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Hastings Association Sierra Leone (the London group) which are shown as part of the sum of £2420 received specifically for the Health project and further unrestricted donations of £1,546.

Our expenses are specified in the Income & Expenditure statement and are self-explanatory – the sundry expenses were mainly the football medals (covered by a donation) and a new screen used when making presentations to schools and other groups. During the year we transferred a total of £13,000 from the Gold account (ring-fenced for this purpose) towards the work on the Health Centre extension which was offset by £5,000 transferred from the Cash account to the Gold account as the cost of the erection of the security wall round the Twin Town Centre had been understated, resulting in funds from the Gold account being used rather than the Cash account.

The income and expenditure figures having been independently examined in line with Charity Commission rules and accepted by the Trustees are presented for your information.

Ray Keene

Hon.Treasurer, Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link



Quiz Night Results

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Friday’s Quiz Night 2014 was our best yet. 30 teams – ranging from hardened quiz enthusiasts to kind-hearted but baffled-looking Link supporters – battled it out over 10 rounds, plus a fiendish picture round aimed at those who watch too much TV. Serious quizzers were hoping to unseat the reigning champions, the redoubtable Runners and Non-runners, and it looked as though these were going to lose the crown: but they just squeezed one point ahead of arch-rivals Grinling Gibbons and Searchers on the very last round.

Michael Foster auctioned several interesting lots in his inimitable style, raising £355; the raffle raised £292; and the special Kiley’s Karpets raffle another £160. Kiley’s team had a bet on with their mates from Easylet, with the loser putting another £100 into the Link’s funds… Easylet have sworn to get their revenge next year.  All in all, the evening raised over £1600. A HUGE thank-you to everyone who helped to make the evening such a success.  It helps us edge a bit nearer towards our goal of £15,000 just to get a secure wall built around the health centre.

Eyes down...

Eyes down…

Runners & Non-Runners win - just!

Runners & Non-Runners win – just!

Jeremy & Richard at work

Jeremy & Richard at work

Orange Quiz Sheet: the answers and the winners!

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

This year’s orange quiz sheet raised over £600. Thanks to everyone who sold them for us, and of course to everyone who bought one. We sold a dozen via the Internet, and received 7 sets of answers that way. The Quizmaster tells me that the winners are:

Hilary Coote (Hastings) and Pam Robbins (Battle) with perfect scores of 70, and runners up Derek Greenup (Pett) and Mrs A Buchan (Hastings). We’ll divvy up the prize-money between them.

Here are the answers, with explanations.

  1. I’ve heard Victoria’s lasted 64 years. (4)   rain  (reign!)
  2. How popular things go down:  a ….. (5)      storm
  3. Diamonds (3)     ice
  4. Greetings, bad weather! (4)    hail
  5. Confederate general met in the street. (5)      sleet  (Lee inside st for street)
  6. You find it in the mountains – no wonder! (5)  snow (hidden answer)
  7. Rent-a-party: it’s a blast! (7)       tornado (torn + a + do)
  8. May be first down in a bank. (9)    snowdrift (anag)
  9. Sounds like a quick thrashing. (9)        hurricane

10. I am nuts about such a freak phenomenon. (7)     tsunami (anag)

11. Presents party spectacle in front of the Queen. (6)  shower (show + ER – a shower is also a presents party)

12. A meteorologist’s gut feeling, perhaps (4)       wind

13. Sounds as if the quartet is fly-fishing. (8)         forecast (four + cast)

14. Such extreme weather might toss about Trans World Airlines. (8)     heatwave (TWA inside heave)

15. We might see Oxford University Press drown in such weather. (8)    downpour      (anag. O.U.P + drown)

16. This is how low Queen Mary sank (7)       draught (though we  thought some people’s  ‘settled’ was quite good)

17. Useful in the winter to OAPs, and in summer to hang-gliders. (8)   thermals

18.  A blow to Kathleen Ferrier (9)        southerly

19. Used by swimmers in qualifying races? Can be nasty (10)   heatstroke

20. Roosevelt (not Teddy) goes round toilet for a serious wetting (5)     flood (loo inside FD)

21. A quick snack for David Jason? Extremely  (9)       frostbite (David Jason starred in ‘A Touch of Frost’ on TV)

22. The darkness you’d find in Hades (5)  shade

23. 451, according to Bradbury (10)     Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit 451 – book title)

24. Haggle about our Mum’s effects, initially (9)   barometer (barter around O,M,E – initial letters)

25. The sort of weather to make elks cry (8, 3)   mackerel sky (anag.)

26. Depression as expressed by cows (3)    low

27. Freddie, say, expands in the heat (7)      mercury (Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen)

28. This may, in a way, conceal tiny rotary outflow of air (11)      anticyclone (anag.)

29. Harsh ground conditions may well stop farmer cultivating (10)      permafrost (anag.)

30. Yet this current goes nowhere near the Arabian coast (4,6)    Gulf Stream

31. The child from South America that causes big climatic changes (2,4)  El Nino (El Niño) or La Nina (La Niña)

32. O unmusical bum!  – without a strange cloud in the sky (12)     cumulonimbus (anag.)

33. A lost polar bear might be this (or a London policeman caught short) (3, 6)    met office (met off ice  /or/ met officer without final –r)

34. Sudden wind in August (and at other times of year) (4)         gust (hidden answer)

35. They say there’s a bit of an atmosphere in a town in Middlesex (4)    haze (Hayes)

36. A shout of “Butterfingers!”  (4)      mist  (missed!)

37. A hot wind that might cause harm at Tangiers (9)       harmattan (hidden answer)

38. A storm in a tea-cup, Norman? (7)        typhoon (typhoo +N for Norman)

39. Biblical 20, from French “toboggan”  (6)            deluge

40. Oddly, SoMe OrGy might take one’s breath away (4)       smog (oddly = odd letters)

41. A cause of widespread concern – malt ice, or male tic, for example (7, 6)  climate change

42. A green and peaceful warrior (7)       rainbow

43. Such precipitation is a pet subject of hydrologists (4,3,4)     cats and dogs

44. A noise that isn’t only heard on Thursdays (7)     thunder (Thursday = day of Thor, god of thunder)

45. It’s wet & windy when National Symphony Orchestra is trapped in satellite (7) monsoon    (N.S.O inside moon)

46. It started like the Zodiac and went like the wind (6)       zephyr  (Zephyr & Zodiac both models of Ford cars)

47. What Nigella does with a lemon when baking  (7)        drizzle

48.  Nasty weather that may start and finish like a squash ball (6)   squall

49. Why does a film director worry? – about actors. (8)                                    overcast

50. E.g. sailing, rowing, kayaking…but when R becomes U, head for dry land! (10)  waterspout  (watersport, change –r- for –u-)

51.  Medic should resolve this matter of dehydration (7)       drought (Dr. + ought)

52. Work at holiness – on your head be it! (10)          hailstones (anag.)

53.  Was this Bishop of Winchester the first Michael Fish? (2.7)       St.Swithun/Swithin

54.  This producer of honey may give you wind (4)     Gale (proprietary brand of honey)

55. With which Benjamin Franklin took a shocking risk (9)  lightning

56. Fräulein Schiffer sounds in a less sunny mood (8)  cloudier (= Claudia,   pronounced in the German way)

57. With Tammy and Jinty, this appealed to girls in the 1970s/80s (5)    Misty (comic for girls)

58.  It looks pretty, but might make you boo a surreal air   (6,8)       aurora borealis (anag.)

59. Mathematician from the sub-continent? You’re surprisingly warm (6,6)    Indian summer

60. Coco, Sir? It’s hot (7)     sirocco (anag.)

Can you find these names or expressions, which all contain (or seem to contain) a reference to the weather?

61. How some people like eggs. (5,4,2)       sunny side up

62. A story in which a rat and a mole figure prominently (3,4,2,3,7) The Wind in the Willows

63. Lawrence’s 1915 novel (3,7)     The Rainbow

64. How quickly butter melts in a storm (4, 7, 9)    like greased lightning

65. Something that’s hard to find or doesn’t exist (6,4) Scotch mist

66. Like Gene Kelly (or the two Ronnies) (7,2,3,4)            Singing in the Rain (sorry – it should have been Morecambe & Wise, but everyone spotted it)

67. Statement of a successful umbrella manufacturer  (5,5,3,1,6,6)            Every cloud has a silver lining

68. Put something off in America (4,1,4,5)        take a rain check

69. Have too much on (2,6,5)        be snowed under

70. Northern Irish potter (9,7)           Hurricane Higgins

Comic Relief disappointment

Friday, December 6th, 2013

I’m afraid that we’ve just been told that our bid for Comic Relief funding has been unsuccessful. It’s true, of course, that Comic Relief gets far more requests for funding than it can satisfy. Still, the focus of our application – providing medical supplies , improving water and sanitation and funding educational outreach work to help mothers cope with malaria, cholera, dysentery etc – was presumably just the sort of thing that Comic Relief wants to encourage in sub-Saharan Africa. We’ll ask for feedback, but doubt if we’ll get any.

So, if anyone knows of any other source of funding, large or small, that might be interested in the Link’s work, PLEASE let us know on Actually, there is a way that all our supporters can help us. I’ve signed the Link up as a beneficiary of ‘Give as you Live’.  When I’m shopping on line, a lot of retailers including Amazon give a percentage of what I spend straight to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, and doesn’t cost me any more than I was going to spend anyway. You go to, say that you want any money to go to the Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link, and the retailer automatically sends the Link a percentage. Shopping through Give as you Live is no different to shopping online normally, it’s just as secure and  shopping doesn’t cost a penny more. In fact, the only difference is the difference it will make to our donation total.
Many thanks


The Link on Countdown – how did Robin do?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

If you saw today’s Countdown, you’ll know that it was quite an exciting match – but I was pipped at the post. It was surprising that I didn’t do a lot worse: the chap I was up against already had 4 wins under his belt. I wasted points early on – I could have got quite close on a numbers round, but didn’t bother to declare as I was sure Jonathan Liew would  get 10 points – and he messed it up. Then later I managed to make an embarrassing spelling mistake (comes of having been a French teacher for all those years: appease in English is apaise in French with one -p-.) Fortunately, getting a 9-letter word gave me a big advantage, but when it came to the crucial conundrum I hadn’t spotted where I was supposed to look for the jumbled-up letters. Silly me. Never mind, Jonathan (a really nice guy) is brilliant at the maths and pretty good at the words. I bet he makes it as an octochamp.

The important thing is that Nick Hewer asked me about Hastings Sierra Leone, so we got some useful publicity. If anyone gets to this site because I invited viewers to Google ‘Hastings Sierra Leone’, it’ll all have been worthwhile. It was good fun taking part, seeing how a studio works (you’d be amazed at how basic the set is – everything has to be manually swapped around between the word rounds and the numbers rounds), and everyone was very nice to the poor contestants. Your brain freezes under the pressure, and 30 seconds flies by, especially when you’ve got a tricky calculation to do. Talking of calculations,  I’ve been sponsored for £234 plus Gift Aid. All for the health centre project, of course. If any Link members fancy free-fall sky-diving, I’ll be happy to sponsor them.



Sussex Brass Concert a huge success

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

It was an amazing evening: a great atmosphere at St Matthew’s, and some wonderful music from Sussex Brass under the baton of Steve Hallamby. It started with both national anthems – the words to the Sierra Leonean one are very moving. Then, quite a variety of pieces – I hadn’t realised a brass band could span so many styles, from a medley of Glenn Miller numbers through the Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis to the familiar heart-warming tunes like Jerusalem and Sussex by the Sea, which the audience joined in with gusto. There were some great solos, too. If you haven’t heard Tracey on the flugelhorn, or Jonathan Chappell playing an old chair, you haven’t lived.Yvonne and her team supplied another delicious African-style supper, and all-in-all the evening raised over £1100. To cap it all, Sussex Brass had such a good time, they waived their fee and gave us a donation, and we were bowled over to be given cheques of £1000 each by our Hastings SL Association friends and by the Church of the Good Shepherd, Collier Row, which has given us tremendous support in recent years. Thanks to everyone who made the evening such a success and took us that much further along the road to putting the mothers-and-babies unit in Hastings Village back on its feet. The crystal-clear photos are all by Colin Foy – thanks, Colin.Sierra Leone music night (170)_stitchSierra Leone music night (154)Sierra Leone music night (138)Sierra Leone music night (130)Sierra Leone music night (32)Sierra Leone music night (28)Sierra Leone music night (18)

Hastings & 1066 Country Calendar for 2014

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Do you remember our beautiful calendar in 2012? We’ve produced one for 2014 with the help of the talented members of the East Sussex Arts Club. You can get it from the Hastings Information Centre, from Yvonne and Yvette, or from Link members – ring Robin on 01424 436603. They usually cost £5, but if you want one sent to you, I’m afraid it’s £6.50 which includes postage and packing. Send a cheque (made out to Hastings SL Friendship Link) to Secretary HSLFL, Oaklands, Rock Lane, Hastings, East Sussex TN35 4NY.  Don’t forget to give your name and address!    HIC calendar poster 2014(Website)

Thanks from Health Centre Manager

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Sallu Lansana, the Health Centre manager in Hastings SL, has written to confirm that the latest shipment of equipment and supplies for the health centre has been carefully distributed. He writes:

I write on behalf of the staff and volunteers of the Hastings Community Health Centre to acknowledge that we were present when the container was opened on 20/12/2012. An inventory was taken on Wednesday 23rd. (Sallu gives a full inventory.) The cartons were transferred to the Health Centre thereafter, staff meetings were held where we decided that we would distribute some of the items/materials to the other peripheral health units within the catchment area on 24/1/13.  (He lists these.) We promise these items/material will be used for their intended purpose in saving the lives of our patients. We have started using the items. We appreciate all the items sent and we hope that you will continue the kind support to this facility and the community at large. The extension is still going on and we are slowly coming to the end of the extension work. We appreciate it all. Meanwhile please extend our sincere gratitude to all our supporters, funders and well-wishers and your entire membership and the Hastings UK community for joining hands to improve health care in Hastings Sierra Leone. Once more, thank you all.

Yours faithfully

Sallu Lansana

Officer in charge, Hastings Community Health Centre SL