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  • St Mary in the Castle almost lost beyond repair in 1991: painting by Gus Cummings RA. “St Mary might be the ‘linchpin’ for raising the profile of Hastings – putting it on the international map as a centre for cultural, trade and events of all kinds – enriching the life of the whole town, and attracting an increasing number of visitors and participants from far and near,” the artist said in October 1991.

    Hastings loves St Mary in the Castle

    This is the title of a fundraiser on the Crowdfunder website. St Mary in the Castle closed its doors to the public in March this year and has lain dormant since then. HOT’s Chris Cormack asks: How deep is your love? How deep are your pockets? Continue reading…


    XR rebel pleads mitigating circumstances

    Last autumn, a Hastings grandmother was arrested in London during XR’s October Rebellion – a fortnight of direct action in London. Last Friday, over a year later, Marnie Johnson’s court case was finally held. She was allowed to read out a statement supporting her action:

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    XR Hallowe’en

    This Saturday, 31 October, Extinction Rebellion invites you to march through the Old Town “because The Earth is on Fire, because We Want to Live and to highlight the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill”.

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    In th Crosshairs © Clare Hochter

    Lockdown stories in photographs

    What did you do during lockdown? It meant different things to different people: to some it was a welcome hiatus; to others a sort of imprisonment; lonely; stuck; lack of concentration; walks; gardening; reading; jigsaws; boxed TV sets; cooking and baking. Some enjoyed it, others hated it. And lots thanked the weather gods for the fine weather. To HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths a black cloud settled, resulting in a sort of torpor with the occasional action spike. But I did take photographs, as did other members of Photo Hastings – and here I have to declare an interest ­ – as being part of an exhibition We Baked All Our Own Bread: one mischief always leads to another.

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    Local PSC raffle to raise medical funds for Palestinians

    As Palestinians face up to the coronvirus with the infrastructure of their health and sanitation systems largely in ruins, Hastings & Rye Palestine Solidarity Campaign is running a raffle to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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    HBC funds charity to supply half-term food hampers

    During the half-term week HBC has provided funding to Education Futures Trust to provide food hampers to children entitled to free school meals. Several Labour councillors have criticised the local MP and ESCC leader for “failing” to guarantee holiday meals for children in their wards. Nick Terdre reports.

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    Hastings Borough Council backs nuclear ban

    Last week Hastings Borough Council voted to support a United Nations treaty to restrict the use of nuclear weapons in what is being hailed as ‘a new chapter for nuclear disarmament’ by campaigners. The Hastings Against War group issued the following press release detailing the council meeting, as well as promote their upcoming online screening of the anti-war documentary ‘War School’.

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    Commons bills offers glimmer of hope for legalisation of humanist weddings

    Following the failure of a High Court application this summer to secure legal status for humanist weddings, a private member’s bill is now seeking the same end in the Commons. If this also fails, it is likely humanists will have to wait at least until 2023, when the Government is expected to implement recommendations for changes in wedding law from the Law Commission. Nick Terdre reports.

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    Orangutan watching a butterlfly © Ian Wood

    The eyes have it

    Our lives may have shrunk, like snails, into our homes, but the tentacles of Covid stretch far and wide into far reaching sectors. One: the natural world of trees, birds, animals, as we reach out for something, anything, outside our immediate environment. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths was thrilled to encounter Ian Wood’s photographs of great apes at the Lucy Bell Gallery.

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    Young talent on display at Hastings Arts Forum

    Hastings and St Leonards have a long tradition of creative energy and artistic exuberance. Historically, the town has drawn artists, writers and musicians, who have created work that is recognised nationally as well as internationally. But little recognition has been given to our very young, emerging talent. Until now, as an exhibition at the Hastings Arts Forum, Primary Art, Hastings and St. Leonards Young Artists, so well demonstrates, writes HAF member John Cole, who also took the photos.

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    Fuel poverty and energy debt advice available for households hit by Covid

    Much needed advice for local households in fuel poverty and energy debt as a result of the Covid pandemic is now available thanks to a grant from British Gas Energy Trust to Hastings Advice & Representation Centre and Energise South Coast. Nick Terdre reports.

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    Hastings International Piano announces Digital Festival

    Headlining Hastings International Piano’s one-day Digital Festival will be Rufus Wainwright, and there will also be piano recitals by Maxim Kinasov and Martin James Bartlett, together with a piano masterclass given by Professor Vanessa Latarche, says HOT’s Chris Cormack.

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    This is Not Love

    As part of the lead-up to White Ribbon Day on 25 November, Women’s Voice is keen to highlight the reality of domestic abuse and coercive control. To do this, Women’s Voice is asking whether there are women locally who would be willing to share their experiences of domestic abuse. Ann Kramer explains the initiative.

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    Kim Stallwood Archive at British Library

    Starting this autumn, The Kim Stallwood Archive of research material documenting the history of the animal rights movement will become part of the British Library’s permanent holdings. The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and provides information services to academic, business, research and scientific communities.

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    We Are Here: Black History Month in Hastings and St Leonards

    It’s October, and therefore Black History Month. But a lot is different this year, not only in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid pandemic, but also as the organisers question whether the interests and contributions of black people should be centre stage for just one month in the year. Cllr Maya Evans, writing in a personal capacity, discusses the issues and describes Black History Month’s programme for Hastings and St Leonards.

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    Quality classical music at Kino-Teatr

    The Hastings Early Music Festival (HEMF) is an annual event bringing internationally acclaimed musicians to Hastings. HOT’s Music Correspondent, Brian Hick, was there to hear the Rautio Piano Trio playing Mozart and Faure at Kino-Teatr, St Leonards, on Saturday 17 October.

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