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THIS WEEK East Sussex: 100 businesses benefit from EU grants scheme

COMMUNITY Care and Support scheme reaches milestone

BUSINESS Media Release: Art Gallery for the Bay


The Big Book Fair at the Bay Hotel held on 31 March 2018 with the theme ‘Keeping local library services available to people in the Bay’, will perhaps go down in the local history books as the time when the tide turned to the community.—Bay Life, 31 March 2018

Review: Big Book Fair
Bay Hotel, Pevensey Bay,
31 March 2018
One thousand books, 100 people, one big idea, a local library fit for the 21st century

Days Like This: Community comes together in show of pride

The show, put on by the Friends of Pevensey Bay Library, was a big success.

With a start time at 10:00am, by 9:30am there were reports of people wanting the doors to open so they could start their browsing. They can not all have been dealers.

They were let in and the purge began. Armfuls of books left the building. One of the stallholders recorded to her brother on a smart phone message that people were queuing right round the block, not fiction, fact.

Can this community put on a show? By 10:00am, 11:00am, the Bay Hotel was heaving with people, abating with the cashiers to hand over their money. Poundland style, three books for two pounds. Proceeds by mid-day saw the change run out as notes were exchanged for smaller notes by the organisers to ease the stallholders worry as the £10 notes stacked up.

Set round the ground floor of the Bay Hotel, with the stalls around the surround, and the tea and coffee area roped in with the comfy chairs in the front bay window, made the perfect snug to quote from the new Ladybird Spoof books (collectors items already). Everyone was connecting not just with the books on display but with each other.

What a tremendous sense of a buzz about the place, as people talked and exchanged thoughts and talked about the library.

The Bay Hotel with the wood panels, space and big bay windows and look and feel was a perfect fit.

The range of books was magnificent, from sets of classics to Martina Cole classics. She once had a holiday home at Martello Beach and was known to tea and cake it at the Ocean View Bakery, so there would have been no real surprise to see her there.

Just magnificent organisation, round tables rough at the edge of the room as the piles of books all laid out in banana boxes spilled out on tables, under tables and by the sides of tables. The ad hoc atmosphere created, worked well as people fought over the last copy of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.

People seemed to agree that we could be seeing something of a permanent fixture on the calendar of the hotel.

Everyone seemed to be having such a good time, people just love their books and Pevensey Bay and the surrounds have done the community proud with their donations.

How much was raised? No doubt we will soon find out.

Maybe this kind of event will be the start of proceedings with regard to connecting to the campaign to save Pevensey Bay Library with a new series of events. There is an income stream of some description here.

The support was magnificent, the boxes of books were magnificent and the organisers should be mighty happy with what they put on.

The Friends of Pevensey Bay Library deserve praise for putting on an event of this description. Just the ticket. Karen Hudson, landlady of the Bay Hotel also deserves credit for her stirling support.

The connection between people from the launch of community life bearing events of this kind, such as the Big Book Fair, does not cease the moment the stallholders clear their tables.

Community events of this description bring everyone together in a shared social purpose that will stay with people for ever and a day until the Book Fair appears again, and clearly more events are planned.

This is just the way to raise the profile of the cause of the local library. This is the way to help fund the hope for the future that Jerusalem will be builded here in this green and pleasant land, in this hidden corner in the crown of Sussex, at England’s Gate.

This is what can be done when people work together.

This was one community, building one big idea, perhaps not one thousand books, more like two thousand books. perhaps not one hundred people, more like two hundred people.

The people came because they believed that together, what we need here in Pevensey Bay, is a library fit for the 21st century.

Who would argue against a community inspired event of this description, with so many people in the community subscribing to the values of a public library, that they are not smitten rotten by the notion of a local library, something perhaps that speaks to them over hundreds of years.

And yes, I did buy the biography of Van Morrison by Johnny Rogan, that somehow had been overlooked by everyone, caught down one side of a banana box.

I ventured in the slipstream, between the viaducts of my dream and held the book to my heart, because someday soon, there will be days like this.

When it’s not always raining there’ll be days like this
When there’s no one complaining there’ll be days like this
When everything falls into place like the flick of a switch
Well my mama told me there’ll be days like this
—Van Morrison, Days Like This album, 1995

The possibility that we will indeed be building here a local library that is fit for the 21st century increased today. That is because the Friends of Pevensey Bay Library and the Bay Hotel did us proud with their Big Book Fair.

Simon Montgomery
editor, Bay Life