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  • Cllr Kim Forward is set to become HBC council leader in March.

    Cllr Kim Forward is set to become HBC council leader in March.

    Kim steps forward to become HBC’s first female council leader

    Hastings is about to get its first female council leader following Labour’s choice of Cllr Kim Forward to replace Peter Chowney. Nick Terdre reports.

    Cllr Kim Forward, currently deputy leader of Hastings Borough Council, is set to be appointed council leader at a meeting of the full council on 18 March, when Cllr Peter Chowney will relinquish the role. Forward’s replacement as deputy is expected to be chosen a few days ahead of that meeting. Continue reading…


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    Leading piano and vibraphone duo on the Jazz Hastings stage

    Lewis Wright and Kit Downes, one of the most virtuosic and original duos in modern British jazz, combining vibraphone and piano, will be performing at Jazz Hastings’ monthly session on 3 March. Julian Norridge provides the introductions.

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    Milton Hide at the Stag.

    Lack of plan no impediment to enjoying Saturday Unplugged

    Darren Johnson couldn’t get any friends to come with him to savour the delights of Saturday Unplugged, when a myriad of lesser known bands play short acoustic sets in numerous pubs across the Old Town and now St Leonards. But that didn’t daunt him, and of course he had a brilliant time, as logged below. Darren also took the photos.

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    New York, 1981

    And Man made Mannequin… an unlikely story

    An exhibition of photographs of glamorous mannequins alongside a fantastic range of couture hats seems like a match made in heaven – and that’s what’s on offer at Caroline Morris Millinery & Art in Kings Road in St Leonards until 25 April. Since opening her millinery shop and art space in 2019, Caroline has exhibited local, internationally acclaimed artists such as Katherine Reekie, Oska Lappin and Susan Elliott. Each exhibition invites a creative exchange between hat designer and artist  – in this case, photographer John Ferro Sims. PR consultant Debra Boraston takes up the tale.

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    Joel Culpepper joins Guy Chambers on stage for the opening night of the Piano Festival

    This week sees the first event of the inaugural Hastings International Piano Festival which takes place from 26 February to 8 March at the White Rock Theatre and St Mary in the Castle. The festival homes in on all genres of music with an educational and entertaining offering of events. Young under-21 budding musicians should take special notice, as they can enjoy these mostly free of charge, writes

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    Dos and don’ts of entering a writing competition (plus local literary info)

    Hastings Literary Festival has just launched its writing competitions for this year and there are many more. It’s a chance to have your work evaluated and hopefully, you might win a prize – money or  publication. Angela J. Phillip investigates the dos and don’ts of how to maximise your chance of success.

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    Are you a traditional Labour supporter who switched your vote  in December’s general election

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    Ida Haag’s parallel world on view at Hastings Arts Forum

    A exhibition of recent work by Ida Haag opens at Hastings Arts Forum on 3 March. Brian Hick talked to the Swedish artist about the parallel world from which she draws her inspiration.

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    Khadija Khan (left) and Jane Runchman (right)

    It takes two artists to tango

    On Sunday 1 March artists Khadija Khan and Jane Runchman have a pop-up show at Stade Hall. Erica Smith asked them why they decided to hang a show for one day only.

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    Meet Rachael Perrin from Soundcastle

    Soundcastle is a Hastings-based creative music-making social enterprise which supports the development of wellbeing, confidence and resilience in communities. On Friday 20 March Soundcastle will be running an “Innovation through Improvisation” workshop at the AltPitch festival’s The Platform one-day conference. HOT’s Erica Smith asked director Rachael Perrin to tell us more about what Soundcastle offers.

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    Margaret says, “Hands Off the Conquest Cath Lab”

    Hastings Online Times sent off Erica Smith to meet Margaret Burns (formerly Williams) and find out about Hands Off the Conquest and their new campaign to keep the very successful cath lab at the Conquest Hospital.

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    Community activist Jess Steele facilitating the open forum held at the Marina Fountain pub.

    Grassroots initiative to identify what West St Leonards community really wants

    Prompted by what are widely seen as inappropriate council plans for the old bathing pool site in West Marina, the West St Leonards community is now seeking to organise itself to have a greater say in what happens in its area. These efforts are being headed by the West St Leonards Forum, on whose behalf Bryan Fisher has issued this press release.

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    Ayşen Ulucan photo:Peter Mould

    A very special evening with Ayşen Ulucan at Christ Church

    Ayşen Ulucan returns to Christ Church, St Leonards, for a violin recital of early classical and modern music this Saturday, 22 February, at 7pm. Students and under-18s get free entrance, so it’s just the thing for students of the violin, writes

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    Sharif Persuad. Courtesy Project Art Works

    London exhibition for Hastings Project Arts’ Sharif Persaud

    There is much to love about Hastings and St Leonards: not least the seaside and creativity here, but also the sense of community and support of people who are less well off or generally find life challenging. Project Art Works is a very special organisation that works creatively alongside people with complex needs. HOT’s Lauris Morgan-Griffiths met up with creative director Tim Corrigan to talk about one of their artists/makers, Sharif Persaud, who has an exhibition of his work in London. 

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    Classical Indian flute music with Deepak Ram at Kino-Teatr

    An evening of Indian classical music will take place at the Kino-Teatr in St Leonards on Saturday 29 February, featuring renowned bansuri (flute) maestro Deepak Ram and celebrated tabla player Sanjay Jhalla, writes Julian Norridge.

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    Strandliners founder, Andy Dinsdale

    Strandliner’s Andy Dinsdale speaks to Sussex Wildlife Trust

    Last month, HOT’s Zelly Restorick offered a plea to spread the word of the local environmental efforts of Strandliners. In a follow-up Emma Chaplin, Communications Officer for the Sussex Wildlife Trust, recently spoke with founder Andy Dinsdale for a personal insight into Strandliners’ work and the man behind the motto, ‘Cleaner rivers, Cleaner seas’. Except where specified, Emma also took the photos.

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