East Grinstead Town Council » News http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk Located in the South East of England at the meeting point of the four counties of East Sussex, Kent, Surrey and West Sussex. Mon, 01 Sep 2014 09:44:05 +0000 hourly 1 A day to remember http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/a-day-to-remember/ Fri, 29 Aug 2014 14:06:36 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7608 SUSAN Hill, who represented the Godley family at last weekend’s unveiling of a memorial stone honouring Private Sidney Godley VC has written to thank the Town Council for a “wonderful” and very special day, and for ensuring she had photographs of the event.

“Thank you so much for sending me the photos. Roland and I thought the ceremony wonderful and extremely well organised and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day,” she said.


A town’s pride, a grandson’s tribute http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/a-towns-pride-a-grandsons-tribute/ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:10:14 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7603 DEPUTY Town Mayor Dick Sweatman welcomed Colin Godley to East Grinstead today (27 August) when he paid a poignant private visit to the town to see the Memorial stone unveiled at the weekend in honour of his grandfather, Private Sidney Godley VC.

Colin missed the unveiling because he was at Mons with 26 members of his family for the 100th anniversary visiting the spot where his grandfather’s heroism had earned him the nation’s highest award For Valour.

“Exactly a century after it had happened, we stood under the same bridge where my grandfather held off the Germans with a machine gun so that his comrades could escape,” said Colin. “It was very emotional and we all had wet eyes.”

Three generations of the family paid their respects including Colin’s 14-year-old grandsons Zac, who wore his ATC uniform, and Matthew, 17, who is in the army cadets.

They were joined by three more grandchildren – Harry, 16 and nine-year-olds Eloise and Kate.

The boys all laid wreaths at the spot and the girls laid crosses after a service commemorating all those who had taken part in the battle.

After the ceremony at Mons,  the family visited Ypres where Colin was invited to read at the nightly Menin Gate tribute to the fallen. They also laid wreaths at the grave of Sidney’s older brother Percy, a sergeant in the 32 Fusiliers, who died in battle and is buried on the Somme.

“We were the first family members ever to have visited his grave,” said Colin.

But for Colin there was something very special about coming back to his grandfather’s home town to see the newly-unveiled tribute which will be a permanent part of the High Street scene.

“Grandad was from East Grinstead and he never ever forgot that – or lost his country burr,” said Colin.

And it was another historic moment for Colin himself to stand proudly by the East Grinstead War Memorial with his own grandchildren to see the stone laid in their great, great grandfather’s memory.

“People in East Grinstead have never forgotten Sidney Godley,” he said, looking down at the newly-installed memorial at his feet.

“And now they never will.  Grandad will always be here, at the heart of the town.

Photos Copyright East Grinstead Online

A proud day for the town and the nation http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/a-proud-day-for-the-town-and-the-nation/ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:41:55 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7598 TOWN Mayor Nick Hodges unveiled the paving stone commemorating the valour of East Grinstead’s Private Sidney Godley at the High Street War Memorial this morning.

It was a beautiful summer Saturday as the crowds gathered just before 11pm to see the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps march up London Road and assemble in front of the memorial where the paving stone lay covered by a purple silk drape.

Private Godley became the first private soldier to win Britain’s highest award for gallantry exactly 100 years ago when, on 23 August 1914, he held a bridge for two hours, despite being badly wounded, in order to allow his comrades to retreat.

His citation was given ‘For coolness and gallantry and fighting with a machine gun under hot fire’.

‘He was the first private soldier, the army’s lowest rank, to be awarded its highest honour,’ said the Mayor. And unlike so many other soldiers from WWI, Private Godley survived the war, and returned alive to collect his medal at Buckingham Palace in 1919.

Also at this morning’s ceremony was Eric Pickles MP, the man who came up with the idea of laying memorial paving slabs to honour the nation’s bravest soldiers.

He said that Godley had not been from a privileged background and his being in the military at all had been from force of circumstance rather than choice.

But ordinary as he had been, on the bridge at Mons a century ago, he had made his family and his nation very proud of him.

He then added that unlike Private Godley’s stone, most of the commemorative slabs will be placed outside the homes where the VCs actually lived.

‘There will be 626 ceremonies across the nation over the coming four years,’ went on Mr Pickles, ‘and we should remember these men not just as people from the pages of history, but as  members of our own communities, like you and me, who had a choice to make and who put themselves at risk to save the lives of others.’

The Rev Clive Everett-Allen then blessed the stone and prayed for all the men ‘whose courage, duty and discipline led them to sacrifice themselves for others.’

It was not only a very proud day for the town, but also for members of Private Godley’s family who came to see their relative honoured today, who included John Tanner and Susan Hill.

“It has been amazing,’ said Susan. ‘It has been such an emotional occasion and I am very, very proud to be here today representing the family.’

Click the ‘read more’ link below to see our photo gallery.

Photos copyright East Grinstead Online & Brian Hamill

Sidney Godley memorial plaque unveiling http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/sidney-godley-memorial-plaque-unveiling/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:45:09 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7577 In attendance at Saturday’s unveiling of the memorial plaque to Sidney Godley V.C. will not only be our Town Mayor Nick Hodges, who will be giving a speech, but also the Minister for Communities and Local Government, the Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles, who will also be addressing  the crowds.

Also among the guests will be Charlie MacKeith the designer of the Memorial plaque, and Mrs Susan Hill, a great niece of Sidney Godley who will be officially representing the family in the absence of Mr Colin Godley who will be in Mons, Belgium, the site of the battle where Sidney Godley won his medal. There will further be a representative from the Regiment of Royal Fusiliers, the successors to the Regiment that Sidney Godley served in.

The band of the Royal Logistics Corps will be marching from King Street turning into London Road and into the High Street opposite the War Memorial. Commencing at 10.40 the programme finishes with the band departing the High Street at 11.30

On Wednesday 27th of August Deputy Town Mayor will be welcoming Colin Godley and some of the family who will be arriving in East Grinstead on return from their visit to Belgium.

Christmas panto tickets now available http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/christmas-panto-tickets-now-available/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:38:06 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7594 EARLY bird tickets now available for Chequer Mead’s Christmas panto.

Lights Out – WW1 commemoration of Britain entering the war http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/lights-out-ww1-commemoration-of-britain-entering-the-war/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:36:59 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7592

Let the Countdown begin! http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/let-the-countdown-begin/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:35:37 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7588 THE paving slab which recalls the heroism of Private Sidney Godley VC , who was born in East Grinstead, is now in place below the town War Memorial in the High Street.

It will be officially unveiled this weekend by Town Mayor Mick Hodges, but in the meantime Town Clerk Julie Holden has appealed to everyone to leave the covers in place so that the surprise isn’t spoiled.

Photo credits: Roy Henderson and Simon Kerr

999 Funday 2014 http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/999-funday-2014/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:33:36 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7585 THE popular 999 Funday will take place in Burgess Hill this year and will be bigger and better than ever the ‘three towns’ poll their resources to put on a really great display.

EGChange Community Swap Shop http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/egchange-community-swap-shop/ Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:31:32 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7582

Time hangs heavy when you’ve got no hands http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/articles/news/2014/08/time-hangs-heavy-when-youve-got-no-hands/ Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:34:27 +0000 East Grinstead Town Council http://www.eastgrinstead.gov.uk/?p=7573 TIME appears to be standing still in East Grinstead where one face of the Town Clock is missing its hands.

But it’s just a temporary problem, and everything will soon be tickety-boo, said a spokesman for the Town Council.

‘At present one set of hands is disconnected from the clock, the other side is functioning as per normal.

‘The problem is a mechanical one which has been diagnosed by our contractors and we have placed an order that will enable us to replace the faulty part.

‘Sadly we have had to source this part from Europe as there is no longer a UK supplier who provides these very specialised items. But of course, this being August, it means our supplier has shut down for the summer holidays and we are going to have to wait until next month before delivery.’