Category Archives: Chamber News

Christmas Festival 2010 – The Main Event

After a very wet and snowy November and early December, organisers of the Christmas Festival were delighted that the weather started to improve in advance of the main festival day of Saturday 11 December.

Throughout the day there was street entertainment in the town. A Charity Fayre was run in St Mary’s Church with further stalls established in the afternoon in the High Street.

At 5.00pm, Santa in his reindeer-led sleigh was the highlight of the Procession which took the traditional route from the station, up through Cinque Ports Street, Landgate, Hilders Cliff, the High Street and down The Mint to Strand Quay.

The Procession was amazing, led by Rex, the Town Cryer, followed by Santa in his sleigh. Following Santa was the now established but ever brilliant Lantern Displays, built and carried by children from several local schools. Interspersed in the Procession was the Pipes & Drums band, Blocco from Rye College, and Section Five.

The Procession attracts a variety of extras, and this year was no exception, with any number of people who just wanted to get involved.

The Procession disbanded at Strand Quay, but Santa took his time mingling in the crowd. The reindeer were put a pen on Strand Quay and were a huge attraction throughout the evening.

The evening market was launched at Strand Quay which was a huge success and should become a regular feature in the future.

The Christmas Festival is something that Rye does very well, but this year it was exceptional. Well done to Roger Crouch, our Festival Organiser, and we already look forward to what Roger has planned for us next year.

Thank you too to all the businesses and residents of Rye who contributed time and money to make this year’s festival so memorable.

Christmas Festival 2010 – Lighting Up Ceremony

The Rye Christmas Festival started on Saturday 4th December 2010.

Events in towns nearby were being cancelled, but we decided to carry on.

It had snowed and rained for weeks already, and it was bitterly cold.  Small events had gone on throughout the day, with the highlight being Captain Jack lookalike, who did a marvellous job entertaining those who had braved the weather.

The Lighting Up of the Tree at The George in Rye looked like there would be no-one there, but with minutes to go, several hundred came out of nowhere. 

The Mayor gave a warming speech announcing the start of the Christmas Festivities in Rye. Captain Jack entertained the crowd, giving us a hint of the Caribbean. After three beautifully staged attempts the lights came on.

The crowd then moved down to Hilders Cliff to see the fantastic fireworks put on by the Bonfire Boys – well done guys.

Christmas had started.

December Update

There was no formal meeting in December.

Instead a very successful evening was held in the Ypres Inn – thanks to Ian and his staff for a vey enjoyable evening and a cracking start to the Christmas festivities.

November Update

A return to the normal agenda this month, with the following items raised:

  • Rye Marketing Group Open Day – Tuesday 22 November 2010 – Chamber to host one stall
  • Rye Bay Scallop week announced 12th to 20th February 2011
  • new government intiatives under LEP were being announced
  • Rye Guide had successfully been launched
  • new Visit Rye website was being launched
  • Christmas Festival plans now finalised and last minute funding support had been successfully achieved from Tesco and Sainsburys ensures that all planned festivities and lights will go ahead
  • Radio Scheme successfully relaunched
  • News of the new Pub Watch scheme also announced
  • Cardboard Recycling is very successful, but people are now operating outside the agreed parameters – agreed that participants would be reminded of the rules
  • Initiatives for 2011 announced

October Update

The normal agenda was put to one side this month…

We were delighted that representatives of Tesco and Sainsburys were able to join us.

Everyone knows the story so far of the long running saga of the proposed second supemarket on the Lower School Site.  However, no-one could have written the recent chapter whereby Sainsburys owns most of the land necessary to build the supermarket on the proposed site, but Tesco owns the vital bit that gives the necessary access to the site.

However, apparently it is quite common, which actually makes sense when you think about it.  Tesco and Sainsburys are both very keen to be in Rye, and are equally keen to be in other parts of the country where they currently have no presence.

Tesco revealed plans for their 17,000 square feet store, similar in size to the Tenterden store, whereas Sainsburys is bigger at 20,000 square feet.  Further development of store facilities would be limited due to the location and the site’s neighbours – the Rye College, houses and the railway line.

Both Tesco and Sainsburys are keen to get going in Rye and promise employment and support in the local community.

We await the conclusion of their land negotiations.

Christmas Festival 2010

The Rye Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce its plans for Christmas…

Our Festival this year supports The Oliver Curd Trust again – a wonderful charity – see

Brochures (8,000 in total) are being distributed to traders, local businesses, Tourist Information Centre and Rye Heritage Centre, local households and to local schools in week commencing 15 November 2010.

Lights on lamposts are going up already, though a number have not survived from last year.  Tesco have very kindly offerred financial support which has allowed us to purchase new lights.  Without this support, parts of Rye may have looked quite dark.  Further lights and baby Christmas trees will follow on businesses throughout Rye.

The Best Dressed Window Competition will be happening again this year and the theme is Christmas Morning. 

The Festival is throughout December with a number of events taking place – see the Brochure for details – however there are two key dates…

4th December 2010 is a dedicated shopping day with a number of shops offering much more –  from mulled wine, mince pies and discounts.  Come and find out…

Then in the early evening we have the Lighting Up Ceremony with the Mayor’s Speech, Lighting Up of The  George Christmas Tree followed by fireworks from The Salts.

11th December 2010 is the Magical Day…  From Noon there will be events all through the Town.  The shops will be open, of course, with many wonderful things on offer.  There will be street entertainment, street stalls, the Charity Fayre in St Mary’s Church, and of course the Procession through the streets of Rye with Santa and his reindeer.  Then Santa will retire to his Grotto at The Museum.  If that is not enough, there will be an Evening Market at Strand Quay.

The Harbour Master has hinted that there may be pirates landing at Strand Quay looking for Treasure – watch this space!

Shopwatch Radio Scheme

On 21 September 2010, a meeting was held at Rye Police Station to promote and encourage the Radio Scheme in Rye.  The Radio Scheme, whilst still in existence, with quite a few members still using the radios on a regular basis, needs further promotion to encourage new members to join the scheme and fight crime and shoplifting  in Rye.  The Police already have a radio and can therefore monitor radio traffic and respond as appropriate.

The Chamber of Commerce is to provide administrative support to the scheme.  Frank May is to co-ordinate the publication of promotional literature and joining forms, which will then be distributed throughout the town.  Frank May together with the Police will provide training to existing and new members.  Funds are available to replace existing equipment, namely batteries, and to increase the stock of radios. 

Traders who are interested in joining the scheme or who require assistance or training can contact the Chairmand of Rye Chamber – see “Contact Us”.

September update

Presentations were given by:

  • Chrissy Stower on the future activities of The Rye Partnership, which included how The Chamber and The Rye Partnership, together with other local bodies, need to engage with the new government initiatives including the newly formed Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs). 
  • Roger Crouch on the plans for the Rye Food Festival in October and the Christmas Festival in December.  The Rye Scallop Festival is scheduled for February 2011.
  • Mike Eve on the plans for the Further Education Centre in Rye and the newly established Fletchers Group who have alternative plans for the site to further promote the arts within Rye by having a bespoke theatre and cinema.

Other news:

  • Tesco / Sainsbury – Chamber to invite both parties to a meeting to establish what is happening and the timeframe for the new store
  • Rye Partnership to hold members’ meeting and meetings with individuals in the Town to decide future initiatives.  Chamber asked to actively participate.
  • Derick Holman has established the beginnings of a new Chamber Marketing Group to focus on marketing for traders in Rye, and to work alongside The Rye Marketing Group and HOTCATs.
  • Carpark Refund Scheme to be reviewed and resurrected.
  • Radio Scheme meeting planned for interested traders and Police.
  • Rye Marketing Group holding a Marketing Forum Day at River Haven on 23 November – Chamber to take stall.
  • Chamber to forge links with Tenterden Chamber and Tenterden Improve, and see if there are business interest groups west to Hastings and East to Folketsone – this may be very helpful for working the LEP.

Chamber AGM

The Chamber is to host its 2010 Annual General Meeting at The George in Rye on Wednesday 16 June 2010 at 6.00pm.

Following the formalities of the AGM, there will be three presentations, as follows:

Rye Police Officers will inform members of 2010 targets for the police in Rye, together with an opportunity for the audience to put questions to the Police.

Roger Crouch has recently been appointed the Events Co-ordinator for Rye.  In particular, Roger will be responsible for co-ordinating the Rye Food Festival in October, the Christmas Festival in December and the Scallop Festival in February next year.  Whilst new to the position, Roger is keen to meet people interested in the festivals and any new ideas.

Robin Gordon of London Ashford Airport and LyddAir will be making a presentation on current developments at Lydd Airport.  He will happily take questions.

Whilst the meeting is not a Public Meeting, non-Chamber members are welcome to join us to find out more of the Chamber’s activities and what is going on in your Town and District.

Chamber Public Meeting – 7th April 2010

The Rye & District Chamber of Commerce hosted a public meeting on Wednesday 7th April 2010 at the George in Rye Hotel, High Street.

The meeting was deliberately held after the Town Council Public Meeting.  It was hoped that the Chamber Meeting would develop certain matters raised at the Town Open Meeting.

The Chamber meeting concentrated on four key areas within the Town:

  • The relocation of the Rye library to the old “Woolworths” site and the impact this would have on our High Street.
  • The future of the old library site.
  • The relocation of the FE Centre activities and the future of the old FE Centre.
  • The future of the retail area within Rye, including discussion of the type of shops needed to ensure Rye is able to deliver the needs of its residents and visitors. This included a discussion of Sunday trading activity within Rye.

Members and non-members of the Chamber were invited, including residents of Rye to join the meeting to put their views.

Neil Cunliffe, Chairman was joined by Stephen Jempson of Jempsons / Budgens,  Keith Glazier of East Sussex County Council and Rye Partnership, David Russel of Rye Town Council and Rother District Council.

In addition, various members of Rye Town Council were at the meeting and took and posed questions.  Councillors included Sam Souster, Ian Potter, Paul Osborne, Lorna Hall and Mary Smith.

Some interesting points were raised at the meeting which will be put forward once they have been tabled at the next Chamber meeting on Wednesday 21 April 2010.

Events co-ordinator – May 2010

The Rye & District Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the appointment of Roger Crouch as our Events Co-ordinator.

The role will involve organising the Rye Food Festival in October 2010, the Christmas Festival in December 2010 and the Scallop Festival in February 2011.

This is the first time that these events have not been not been run entirely by volunteers, and it is hoped that the events will continue to develop, and become stronger attractions for the town, with the introduction of a paid professional.

Roger Crouch will be at the Chamber AGM on Wednesday 16 June 2010.

I f you want to get involved with the festivals and help Roger, then email Chairman@ rye and your details will be passed on to Roger.