Observer Comment: Individuals can make a difference

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THE unveiling of three new benches at the children’s cemetery on The Ridge is an inspirational end to a sorry chapter.

In the summer, the site was a disgrace, overgrown and uncared for. Grieving families were disgusted at the state of it, forced to mourn for their little loved ones in a forgotten and unkempt corner of the cemetery.

What happened next proves how individuals can make a difference.

When Duane Kemp turned up at the Observer offices he had had enough, and he asked us to help.

He had already amassed hundreds of supporters on Facebook, and once we broke the story on the front page, the council were quick to act.

But Mr Kemp and his wife Sarah were not finished there, and wanted to go further, to build on their success.

The three new benches are testimony to the energy and hard work all those involved put in over recent months, and thanks must go to anyone who donated, the Lions Club and the council, whose own donation was a nice gesture.

And so ends a remarkable turnaround; in just six months the children’s cemetery has gone from being a messy, upsetting eyesore to a calm, tranquil and comfortable place where people can go to remember those they have lost.

It’s a bad news story made good, and shows that when people set their mind to it and work together, they can make small changes that have a massive impact on the community.

LAST week saw the launch of our new I Heart Hastings campaign to celebrate all that is positive about this corner of 1066 Country.

We promised readers we would start highlighting the good news and we have stayed true to our word.

From today we will use the official I Heart Hastings stamp on any articles which show why Hastings is just a great place to live.

Today’s paper has four such stamps. There is the story of a local man getting an MBE, a young well-wisher who made a festive banner, a feature on the iconic Winkle Club and a review of a charity CD.

If you read any stories this week, make it those. And keep the good news coming.

OVER the years Banksy has made millions of pounds, won an army of admirers and proved various art critics wrong.

But is there a greater accolade for the enigmatic graffiti star than to be featured on the Hastings Half Marathon brass?

The people of 1066 Country have embraced their new al fresco art work with enthusiasm so it is fitting it will join more traditional symbols of the town as the image on the much-cherished medals.

Well done Banksy, you have won a place in Hastings’ heart.