New Vicar

Emily, Angy, Alan & Jake Weaver. Copyright:

It feels a little strange writing this, as some of you will remember me; from 1998 – 2000 I was curate here at St Richard’s with responsibility for setting up The Haven Church in Sovereign Harbour and then from 2000 – 2005 I was Priest-in-Charge of The Haven Conventional District. What many of you may not know is that my relationship with Langney goes back a lot further than that. I grew up in Old Town in Eastbourne and as a family we attended St Elisabeth’s church, where my mum and dad became friends with the then curate and his wife, Bob and Barbara Butler (Bob was later to become a long-serving vicar of St Richard’s) and where I made friends with their son Andy. My friendship with him has continued and we still regularly meet up, so I have childhood memories of spending days with the Butlers, first in the bungalow (which was then the vicarage) and then in the ‘new’ vicarage where, later this year, we will be living (feels very strange). I suspect there may still be some Corgi cars of mine buried in the bungalow garden. I also have family links with Langney – in the 1970s my gran lived first in Stafford Court and then in Wicklow Court, whilst an aunt and cousins lived in Hever Close. So although I will be the newbie, it’s possible I will have known Langney for longer than some of you (although your knowledge will be very valuable as it’s more recent).

Like so many people in Eastbourne, I began my working life at the Dental Estimates Board / Dental Practice Board. It was only going to be a short term thing but they kept making the mistake of promoting me and sending me on courses, so I stayed there for eleven years. It was during this time that Angy and I met and married (Angy was brought up in Yorkshire, so any Lancastrians beware!). We have two adult children, Jake, twenty-six, who lives in Leeds and Emily, twenty-five, who lives in Tunbridge Wells. In October this year Angy and I will celebrate our Pearl Wedding (thirty years to save you looking it up).

Feeling the call to ordained ministry, in 1993 Angy and I upped sticks and moved to Lincoln for me to train at Theological College there. It was whilst we were living there that Jake was born, which explains our family support for Lincoln City Football Club – when Jake came to pick a football team to support, whilst his friends were opting for Chelsea, Liverpool and the like he decided to stay true to his roots and, watching the rare matches that are televised from Sincil Bank, our support for them reminds us of happy times living there.

On graduating from Theological College, my first post was as curate in the Parish of Seaford and it was whilst living there that Emily was born. Prior to moving to Lincoln Angy had been working for Eastbourne Borough Council and she was fortunate enough to be able to get her old job back when we moved.

From Seaford we moved to Langney, which I’ve already written about. We had several happy years here but come 2005 Jake and Emily were coming to the end of their primary school days and we wanted to be somewhere where they could have their secondary and sixth form education unbroken by a move. So, in 2005, we moved to St Michael’s, Jarvis Brook. In some ways Jarvis Brook is to Crowborough what Langney is to Eastbourne; in the past a separate village but now part of the larger town. Shortly after we moved, Angy left Eastbourne Borough Council to begin work for Lewes District Council (an easier commute from Crowborough). We very quickly settled in to life in Jarvis Brook and it seemed no time at all before Jake went off to university in Newcastle and Emily to university in Exeter. As they were both at university at the same time you can imagine the mileage that involved – little wonder our car was worn out by the time they graduated.

As with so many families, with the housing situation being so difficult they became part of the boomerang generation, coming back to live with mum and dad. Lovely for us but I suspect not so great for them. The one saving grace for them were our two dogs, Herbie (thirteen) and Jessie (seven); when they come home to visit I’m sure it’s to see the dogs, not their mum and dad! Dogs have been a part of our life ever since we moved to Lincoln and they’ve all been rescue dogs (dogs who’ve needed rescuing and re-homing, not dogs who do something useful like rescuing people). One of our priorities when we move will be finding places in walking distance from the vicarage where we can walk the dogs – if others have dogs maybe a parish dog walking group?

With Jake moving to Leeds and Emily to Tunbridge Wells that really brings us up to date. We’ve been very happy in Jarvis Brook but after sixteen years it’s the right time to move on to new opportunities and challenges. For me, it’s exciting to take on something new and in a place where I have such happy memories. For Angy, since the staff of Eastbourne Borough and Lewes District Council staff were amalgamated, once people can go into the office again it will be an easy commute to Grove Road. For our children, Langney Point is a place they remember as children. For Herbie and Jessie, lots of walking opportunities. And as Angy and I have both said, it will be like coming home. We look forward to being with you.

Alan Weaver


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