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April 25th, 2017.

Saint Andrew's Church in Alfriston was packed when at 6.00pm on Sunday, England's National Day and the Feast of St George, the bells were rung. Throughout the Country many church bells are rung at this time to honour St George. The occasion was the annual service of the Seahaven Branch of The Royal Society of St George, conducted by the Revd Danial Merceron, the Rector of the Cuckmere Churches.

Following the service, 81 people sat down to a formal dinner at the nearby Deans Place Hotel. Branch President Laurie Holland welcomed the guests as they arrived, including the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and Mrs Field, the High Sheriff of East Sussex, Maureen Chowen and Mr Chowen, the Chair of Lewes District Council, Cllr Michael Enever with Mrs Enever, and the Mayors of Seaford, Peacehaven and Telscombe. The Mayor of Newhaven, Cllr Steve Saunders is a Vice President of the Branch. MP for Lewes, Maria Caulfield MP attended for the first time as a full member of the branch accompanied by Steve Bell CBE.

Youth was represented by two scouts from the 3rd Newhaven Troop, Ben Pomfrey and Stanley Cox and the Sea Cadets by Cadet Catherine Boorman.

The Lord Lieutenant praised the branch's record in providing gifts of valuable items to local worthwhile projects and local charities. Two organisations to have recently received items were present, the 3rd Newhaven Scouts and the Starfish Project - a non-profit making scheme to help recovering stammerers. Ann Blight the inspiration behind Starfish was present along with husband David, who acted as Toastmaster for the event, resplendent in his red coat.

Chairman, Bob Peedle MBE said: "This was the largest turn-out we have ever had for St George's Day, and this reflects the greater interest in the area for England's National Day. Branch membership is well over ninety and more applications are coming in. 23rd April this year was for us the best ever."

*The Royal Society of St George formed in 1894 has some 100 branches worldwide - the Seahaven Branch formed in 2010 for the whole of the District of Lewes with surrounding towns and villages.

Pictured: The official party left Deans Place Hotel just before 6.00pm to process to St Andrew's Church in time for the ringing of the bells. Left to right - Branch President, Laurie Holland, Standard Bearer Frank Holland, Mrs Rosemary Holland, High Sheriff Maureen Chowen, Lord Lieutenant Peter Field, Mr Chowen and Mrs Margaret Field.