EACH year we observe that Christmas seems to get earlier and earlier. Who spotted the first decorations for sale in October? And Debenhams already has a Christmas window display up to get us in the festive mood.
But happily an important local charity Surviving Christmas is also thinking ahead. For the 27th year running they will be running an “Open Christmas” for the lonely and homeless of Hastings and St Leonards. I went last year and was impressed not only by the quality and efficiency of their meals and support services (clothes, hair cuts etc) but also by the irrepressibly positive and up-beat manner of all the brilliant volunteers helping. I will be going again this year and anyone able to offer support might contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last weekend we also planned early for Remembrance Sunday. Tesco in Hollington was kind enough to host the launch of the 90th Anniversary Launch for the Poppy Appeal. We had our Standard Bearers, Cadets, and a band from Eastbourne. Local councillors and supporters joined in the celebration, and surprised shoppers paused to find out what it was all about.
But the symbol of the poppy and the array of uniformed men and women soon reminded them that this was the warm up for Remembrance Sunday.
All along the tills in the giant Tesco store, shoppers paused to see what the noise and shouting was about. The shouting was from our excellent town crier, Jon Bartholomew, silencing the crowds around with his magnificent voice, reminding us why we need to stop, think and give to support the Poppy Appeal.
One of the regular collectors observed that collections have remained strong during the recent years despite difficult times. This is because the reality of what our servicemen and women do is at the front of people’s minds.
The dangers in Afghanistan are regularly reported in the press. Local men and women are out in Afghanistan now, serving their country. The Poppy Appeal also collects to support service personnel and their families who are currently serving.
We started early with collecting for Remembrance Sunday this year. And it is right that we did. We have a lot to be grateful for.