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New Parish Council minutes from 6th November and the agenda for the Meeting on 4th December are now available on the Council Meetings page.

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The Blue Bell becomes The Bluebell at Cocking

Written by The Editor on .

New Bluebell nering redinessThe long wait is nearly over as renovation work draws to a close.  After a closure that has lasted about a year, the Blue Bell public house will be re-opening in late November* as the Bluebell At Cocking.  The sign now hanging outside shows the new flower motif as evidence of the renaming.  The removal of the corner door, new window frames and exterior repainting are also signs of the investment that has been made by the new owners Tony Bale and Julia Dent.

The Bluebell promises to be open every day for Morning Coffee, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner, while rooms will be available from Spring 2010.

The proof of the pudding (pun intended) will of course only be available once the Bluebell is open for business and serving its fare.

* [This was optimistic, as November passed without the Bluebell opening, Ed.]

Summer Visitors 2009

Written by The Editor on .

Time trialling cyclistsSeptember and autumn are on their way and the summer should be more or less over.  Having said that, it seems that cyclists haven't stopped indulging in their fair weather activities yet.

The morning of Sunday (13th) saw hundreds of enthusiastic and fit time triallers shooting through Cocking having stored up some energy and gained considerable speed down Cocking Hill.  Some no doubt exceeded the 30 m.p.h. speed limit entering Cocking, but the police were not in evidence

Next week of course will see visitors to the Goodwood Revival driving through the village, perhaps that event marks the 'official' end of the season.

Local Sculptor Awarded CVO

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Philip JacksonRoyal Victorian OrderLocal sculptor, Philip Jackson has been appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the Queen's birthday honours list.

The 'CVO' is awarded in recognition of services to the royal family, which will come as no surprise to those of us who have seen his fine sculptures with a royal theme such as the Queen on horseback in Windsor Great Park and the recently unveiled Queen Mother memorial statue in the Mall.

Many will remember enjoying the escorted coach tour from Cocking that Philip arranged, linking a selection of his sculptures in and near London.  Those who went on the trip will realise that his public works are by no means all based on a royal theme.  He has for example produced several bronze works depicting football subjects including the 1996 World Cup group near Upton Park, the home of Bobby Moore's club, West Ham United and statue of the late England captain himself at the new Wembley Stadium.

Naturally, there are local examples of his works, such as the new Angel Gabriel, suspended on wires at Harting Church, the statue of St. Richard next to the cathedral in Chichester and of course Cocking's own Millennium History Column would never have taken shape without Philip Jackson, CVO.

So, a richly deserved honour for our famous resident, pictured above at the unveiling of the History Column four years ago.

New Polling Station's First Election

Written by The Editor on .

Poling Station

Polling Station - detail

Thursday 4th June, 2009 was an election day in Cocking.  Not a General Election perhaps, but polls were being held for both the European Parliamentary - South East Region and the West Sussex County Council, Fernhurst Division contests.

Seasoned Cocking voters will remember voting in the Blue Bell Inn, but as this has been closed or some time the venue has moved over the road to the Moonlight Cottage Tea Rooms.

The County Council list of candidates was fairly standard, but the list of parties on the European Parliament ballot paper was the longest ever and included some odd organisations such as the Roman Party. Ave! which is really a French bus driver called Jean-Louis Pascual, who has been running for local elections in Reading under this party banner since 2006.

With the current political situation as febrile as it is, perhaps we won't have to wait long before the Tea Rooms once again act as Cocking's Polling Station, but next time for a full scale General Election.

Happy Landings

Written by The Editor on .

Happy LandingsDeflating Experience

A surprise landing took place in Cocking last Sunday and the event was recorded for posterity by Geoffrey Shepherd.  This colourful balloon traversed the village before eventually running out of gas on Cocking Hill.  See all the photos in the Gallery here .

Village Throws a Party for its Postmasters

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Paul & Linda HenshawThe Henshaws arrived in Cocking a year ago to take over the Post Office and village shop, saving it from possible closure.  A year later the Post Office is even more firmly established as a vital part of village life and offers a much wider range of products than before.

The couple's enterprising approach to the shop has been a revelation to the village.  A vegetable stall for local produce, Linda's home made scones, hot soup and sandwiches for hikers - are just a few examples of their innovative approach.  They really are willing to try  out fresh ideas.

Canon Colin Bradley paid tribute to Paul & Linda's contribution to Cocking and thanked them on behalf of the packed Church and residents generally.  Paul replied with some funny tales about his early struggles with Post Office book-keeping and his exposure to 'southerners' and Linda wiped away a tear or two, which wasn't only due to the quality of Paul's jokes.

The assembled crowd then ate and drank the delicious refreshments, while the church was filled with the sound of conversation well into the evening.  A really good party was had by all.

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