In normal circumstances the end of April and beginning of May would be a time of daily activity at St Mary’s, in preparation for our annual Open Day. This has sadly had to be cancelled, along with more or less every other kind of village and parish activity.

The rough notes I had for this article were made a couple of weeks before the ‘lockdown’ but are still relevant now, if not more so.

In the early months of this year, as I went about the business of setting up the event, I was again struck by the general good will and willingness to help. The Tinker’s Park Trust have not only made available more of their historic collection, but also their invaluable experience and skill at event management. Several local businesses were more than happy to sponsor the event, and I was able to assemble a very varied group of exhibitors, with a fascinating range of crafts and things to sell.

I grew up in East London, and in our borough we had a very grand 1930s Town Hall. A frieze above the entrance quotes, if I am right, John Ruskin – ‘Fellowship is Life and the Lack of Fellowship is Death.’ A sociologist would call this ‘social capital’ – people trusting each other and co-operating. A parish such as ours still has this and all its benefits, such as low crime, safe streets and people looking out for each other. Sadly this is no longer the case in that part of London.

We need ‘social capital’ to thrive as human beings in the places where we live, and it becomes vital at a time of crisis. I would say that Buxted’s reserves are good, one very clear example being the volunteer effort operating out of the Buxted Inn during the lockdown.      

The Open Day is ready to go, but just not this year! Everyone has signed up for Saturday 15th May 2021, when we look forward to being one great merry throng in and around the hidden gem that is St Mary’s.

Keith Revoir                    

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