Last week we celebrated The Queen’s 90th birthday and Hastings and Rye joined towns and villages across the UK in lighting beacons to mark this landmark occasion.
As our longest reigning monarch, the service that Her Majesty has given to our country over so many years is incredible - she has presided over two thirds of our history as a full democracy and has lived through some extraordinary moments: from the Second World War when her parents, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, were nearly killed as bombs dropped on Buckingham Palace, to the rations with which she bought the material for her wedding dress; from presenting the World Cup to England in 1966, to man landing on the moon three years later and from the end of the Cold War, to peace in Northern Ireland.
Her Majesty, her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her family serve this country with an unshakeable sense of duty. Initiatives such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Prince’s Trust have inspired millions of people around the world and teach people from across our society valuable skills for life and business. I certainly enjoyed working towards my Duke of Edinburgh Award and I am still proud of my Bronze!
I wish Her Majesty health, happiness and I am looking forward to the opportunity for communities to come together for the celebrations and street parties taking place across the country to mark her official birthday in June.
Last weekend was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death which was celebrated in Hastings by two performances of Verdi’s Macbeth at the White Rock Theatre by Opera South East. In addition, this Bank Holiday, we have plenty more to look forward to as Hastings hosts the annual Jack-in-the-Green festival. Jack, a man covered by a giant May Garland, will lead a procession on Monday to set off from the Fisherman’s Huts in Rock-a-Nore Road in the Old Town and finish on the West Hill, accompanied by Morris Men, Bogies and a May Queen.
Once the procession arrives near the Castle, Jack is slain and the Spirit of Spring is released. There will be music and dance events for the whole family over the weekend. A detailed programme is available on the event’s website: http://www.hastingsjitg.co.uk/. I would also recommend paying a visit to the free Jack in the Green exhibition at History House on Courthouse Street to learn more about the event and its history.
Furthermore, next week we have Hastings Folk Fest and, later in May, Hastings and Rye will showcase the very best local food and drink at the 1066 Wine and Food Festival where local residents can sample some of the finest local flavours. Throughout the fortnight-long festival individual restaurants, wine merchants, vineyards, and food producers will be showing off their best products and there will be many with themed events, tastings and promotions.Tickets for individual events can be purchased at http://www.1066wineandfoodfestival.com/.
There is plenty to look forward to over the next few weeks in Hastings and Rye and I hope you all join me in celebrating our area’s wonderful character and culture.