Patriotic Bexhill goes Jubilee crazy!
BEXHILL is bucking the nationwide Golden Jubilee trend by flooding the Town Hall with bids for aid to help stage events.
By the time the special national Bank Holiday to mark the 50th anniversary of the Queen's coronation comes in June, patriotic Bexhill is expected to have amassed a wide range of special events.
The local reaction has delighted town leaders.
Rother-wide, so many organisations are clamouring for a share of the Golden Jubilee Fund set up by the council that community services director Tony Leonard put.s a special item on the agenda for Monday's meeting of the council's cabinet.
Thirty five bids have been approved, at a cost of 7,575. Another 10 are in the pipeline and the fund's kitty is already empty.
The community services director successfully asked the decision-making body to allocate him a further 5,000 in order to keep pace with demand.
Rother opened its Jubilee Fund last October, using money left over from the little-utilised Millennium fund.
In an innovatory move since copied by other local authorities, it also offered to take the administrative and cost burden off organisations arranging street parties by offering to obtain the necessary road closure orders on their behalf in a single, joint application.
But the flood of applications for aid has outstripped the fund.
Mr Leonard says: "A very encouraging response has been received and the fund has been able to support a very wide range of events and other projects across the district.
"Assistance has been given to groups of young people and disabled and the elderly as well as many other community uses."
He says: "Although the fund was set up on a first-come, first-served basis, it is already totally committed and the closing date for the fund is not until June 30.
"It looks, therefore, as if many groups will be disappointed if we are not able to top up the fund at this juncture."
Roughly a third of the applications from across 200-square mile Rother have so far come from Bexhill.
They range from bids for help with buying souvenir Golden Jubilee mugs for primary school children to grants for Golden Jubilee outings for the elderly and the disabled.
Bexhill Horticultural Society was one of the organisations to have got in with an early bid - for its Sunday, August 18 "floral concert" in Bill and Margaret van Draat's garden at Freezeland Farm.
New chairman Margaret Tate said: "Stuart Wood (her predecessor) got on to it very early - last year some time.
"I think it is wonderful that so many people are applying. It is so good. What is so nice is that people are working together.
"I hope we make a lot of money for St Michael's Hospice!"
Town Mayor Cllr Joanne Gadd said: "I think we are doing very well. There is a lot going on.
"I am extremely pleased. I have tried my best to raise the profile of Bexhill during my Mayoral year.
"I am very pleased that people are interested. So often these days people want to sweep things under the carpet.
"What would we do without our Queen? I feel that our Royal Family should be supported. The Queen has been an fantastic figurehead for the country. She is the finest ambassador that we could ever have had.
"I think that Bexhill as a whole will turn out to support her."