Hastings Sierra Leone Friendship Link

Minutes of the Link meeting of 20th September 2017


Present: Eve Martin, Bill & Eileen Evans, Roger Mitchell, Paul Cabban, Lynn White, Janet Jarvis, Christine & Richard Lane, Edwin Rew, Martin Copland, Richard Homewood (chair), John Geater, Nola McSweeney, Robin Gray (minutes).

  1. Apologies received from Peter Pragnell, Nigel Sinden, Diane Reid, Isabel Hodger, Jacqui Homewood.
  2. Minutes of OGM of 5th  April No matters arising.
  3. Chairman’s Report. Richard reported that the Link had been well represented at the Thanksgiving service. Our group met Lori Spragg of Build on Books, who described the situation in Freetown, where survivors had been discharged from the Connaught without further medical support. BoB, which has a team on site, has been distributing bedding, clothing, food and medical supplies. Our appeal raised over £2500, so that with the £1000 donated by the Church of the Good Shepherd we have been able to send £3,500 to BoB. The latter will provide publicity material acknowledging the donations from the Link and CoGS. Richard has been discussing with Tom of Superstitch an improved logo design to be incorporated on printed t-shirts and on embroidered polo shirts. The meeting approved the suggested design. Ideally, some printed t-shirts will be ready for Lori Spragg to take to SL on October 12th, and for the visiting SL teachers a few days later.  (Bill reported that the relatively few old-style t-shirts we still have tend to be on the small side.) Yvette & Yvonne report that Mrs Palmer of Rokel has visited the disaster area and been impressed by the work a Catholic group is doing, including giving psychological support to traumatised victims. John has been in touch with a mental health trainer. It is possible that LOAF may be able to finance training clergy in ‘psychological first aid’.            Lori Spragg knows of 90 chairs and 45 tables that Rokel have shipped to SL and which seem to be unwanted. Roger will try to find out if there is a use for them in Hastings, if there is no cost involved.                          October 14th: It has been decided not to pursue the idea of staging an event at St Mary-in-the-Castle, for reasons of logistics and health & safety. The SMiC trustees would be happy to offer us an alternative date at some later time.                                                      The Twin Town Centre. We have heard that a well-qualified lady may be interested in taking on the role of part-time manager.  It is reported that the TTC accounts have been completed and that there is hope of a way forward. Yvette will keep us informed.
  4. Treasurer’s Report. Martin presented detailed accounts of income and expenditure since the end of March. Donations included £1000 given for food aid by a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd, who had heard that some children were not getting a proper meal. The meeting discussed how that might be fairly distributed. Richard will ascertain what the original donor had in mind.
  5. Schools Report. Roger brought us up-to-date on the state of the partnerships. Little Ridge and Robertsbridge have unfortunately dropped out, and been replaced by Battle Langton and Battle Abbey Schools. The Regmel / St Mary Star-of-the-Sea link has broken down, so SMSS has taken on St Mulumba RC School, and this is working well. Roger presented the draft programme for the teachers’ visit. He will circulate a form on which members will be able to say which events, meals etc they would like to take part in.
  6. Health Working Party Report. Christine outlined recent health issues. See Annexe A. The £250 requested by the CHO to extend the roof of a small building as a waiting area for TB patients was agreed by the Trustees. The transfer will be made when the situation becomes clearer.
  7. Fundraising Events. (a) Music Quiz. This had been another success. The Trustees sent Lesley-Ann Matthews a bouquet to thank her for devising the quiz yet again. Lesley-Ann has indicated that she would be happy to run a music quiz next year if that’s what we would like. (b) Wine Tasting.  Another success, which Ted Bacon would be willing to run again.                    (c) Future fundraising ideas.
  • We will have the cryptic Orange Quiz Sheet this winter, and a Big Quiz Night in March. Nola has contacted Jane Fletcher at William Parker, who says that in principle she will recommend our having the use of the school hall again, though there is no guarantee as yet that it will be at no charge.
  • Lynn has suggested a catwalk fashion show at the College – a multi-disciplinary student project based on the stock of African garments and material that she and Roger have amassed. It would be a different event, raise the Link’s profile and could be the beginnings of involvement in the Link’s work on the part of the College and of more young people.
  • Lynn will also look into the possibility of a dinner-dance at Bannatyne’s.
  • Roger has suggested a lunch or dinner with a high-powered speaker, e.g. someone from the High Commission, or Peter Penfold. It may be too late to organise an event around Will Pooley, as the memory of Ebola is fading fast in the mind of the public.
  • It is probably too late to think of organising something for Christmas this year (other than John’s carol-singing in the St Helen’s Down area, at which we would be very welcome); but it might be wise to look at asking a local group of prestigious musicians to make the Link the beneficiary of a Christmas concert in December 2018, before their year’s programme is set in stone.
  1. Any Other Business. (a) Eric Garland of St Leonards Rotary has asked us to publicise a Murder Mystery charity fundraiser to be held at Crowhurst Village Hall on Fri 10th Details from ericjgarland@gmail.com.                                                                                (b) Bill reported that the Hastings SL Association (UK) was asking about coming down for a LOAF Walk on May Day. Christine and Derek say there is no LOAF Walk planned for next year. They could certainly come down for the Jack-in-the-Green celebrations. There is plenty of time to discuss this with them.                                                                                             (c) Edwin reminded us that the most convenient way to keep informed about developments in SL – the mudslide disaster etc – is to go to our website, click on News & Events, then Sierra Leone in the News. This gives plenty of live links to the latest press reports from SL.
  2. Date of next meeting. There is a problem with having meetings at 6pm at St Paul’s, since there are still children on the premises at that time. Parking and access are difficult, too. Derek will look into the possibility of our using St Helen’s or St Barnabas’s church hall – provisionally on Wednesday 22nd This date and this venue to be confirmed.

[We now know that these two venues are not available. We will investigate the alternatives and let members know.]


Annexe A



  1. 1. Apologies of absence were received from Edwin
  2. A copy of the AGM Health Centre Sub-Committee Report was circulated
  3. Christine reported that the goods for the Health Centre sent in July had been gratefully received. The Teddies had been well received and distributed at Clinics.
  4. Christine reported on the situation regarding the strike by all CHO (Community Health Officers) and CHAs (Community Health Assistants). This has come after many years of promised recognition by the Sierra Leone Government.  However, it was hoped that a solution would soon be found.
  5. Binta Bah (CHO) had requested assistance with the extension of the small building which had been erected by a charity at the front of the Health Centre as was too small to be used for the purpose of a Family Planning Centre. It was proposed to extend the roof to form waiting space for the TB Patients who attend each day for medication thereby preventing infection of the         babies and children who wait in the same area inside the Health Centre.  The cost would be approximately £250 and the Trustees would be asked to confirm that this could be undertaken by the Link.  Christine was requested to             send a letter of thanks and support from the sub-Committee for all that Binta was undertaking at the Health Centre.
  6. Christine reported that HSLFL were sending donations for the victims of the mudslide and floods via Build on Books. Hastings had not been physically affected but the effects had been felt by all.  John Geater reported that Loaf Emergency Fund would also be sending aid – possibly in the form of Psychological Medical Aid – and had already received donations from individuals and churches.
  7. Binta Bah had reported that the water diversion which the Link had paid for earlier this year had held and the neighbour was no longer flooded. It was           understood that the bore hole had been repaired but Christine would check on this.  {This had since been confirmed}
  8. Christine updated the Committee regarding HSLFL events but there was some uncertainty regarding October 14th which John Geater undertook to investigate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *