Brighton, Sussex and the Channel December Newsletter

Brighton, Sussex and the Channel December Newsletter

Your President and Council wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Your President writes:


What a busy month November proved to be.

For a start there was World Travel Market in London, during which a few Skål events took place. These included dinner in a posh club on St James’s Place and a cocktail party on the Skål stand at WTM, and our club was represented at both events.

We then had the Gala dinner at the Lansdowne Hotel, where Edward Lewis and his team did a great job to create an evening that everyone who attended will remember for a long time.

But then it all went wrong…

During the Gala dinner the wind had started to blow, and next morning I discovered that a lot of people living by the roads in East Sussex and Kent seemed to have left trees and hedges all over the highway, which made progress slow. In Dover itself the port was moving slowly instead of running smoothly, and the ferry that I boarded at 1.15pm turned out to be the much-delayed 4am departure.

It took 2 hours 30 minutes to make the 90 minute crossing to Calais: a fairly lively time but at least I managed to keep my duty-free gin intact.

I then had to dash to the polling station to vote in our primary election: the start of France’s Presidential election due next spring.

At home, despite 110 mph winds overnight, everything was OK – or so it seemed. Then Babeth revealed that during the storm her car had decided to cross the road by itself.

That evening, we discovered that Nicolas Sarkozy had been politely asked to retire – another effect of the wind? The new leader was to be Alain Juppé, but he only came third in the election while Sarkozy’s prime minister, François Fillon, was running ahead.

During the week, Fillon came over all Thatcherist and told us we will stop working 35 hours a week and revert to 48 hours, the welfare system would in future be modelled on the British one, and 50 per cent of civil servants will be fired. I found myself looking at the map to find the French equivalent of the Falklands – but could only find the French islands in the Caribbean. Might Fidel Castro try to invade them, I wondered.

My fears disappeared only last Saturday, when I awoke to hear that Fidel was dead.

Then I went to vote again, and by evening Juppé had also been asked to retire. Surely there could be no more shocks? But yesterday evening, as we shared a gin and tonic, Babeth and I saw the President appear on TV. He produced another blast of cold air as he announced that he would not be standing for re-election.

Those November winds have been winds of change for France, because in two short weeks everything has changed at the top. But, as they say in Belgium: ‘Wind and rain in November, Christmas end of December.’

Yes, Christmas is nearly here! And I hope to see you all at our Christmas lunch at the Cooden Beach Hotel next Saturday!

Eric Etienne


On Saturday 19 November, the Lansdowne Hotel in Eastbourne was the place to be seen, in Skål terms at least, as President Eric's second Gala Night was a great success, writes Anthony Gay. Well over 30 people attended including at the Top Table, Lyn Snelgrove, UK National Secretary, Cara Stewart Clark representing London, Dieter Schlieben, President of Skål Southampton and Eileen, as well as Philip and Christine Ayers, past UK National President and Senior Vice President Skål Brighton, Sussex & the Channel respectively. Lyn Snelgrove had flown in from Spain to be present and Anthony Gay had been in Bristol the night before, helping an old school friend celebrate his 70th!

Edward Lewis had pulled out all the stops for us in that the restaurant looked a picture and aperitifs were taken in an adjacent lounge making all guests feel very welcome. The food and wine were delicious and the service first class. We were all delighted to welcome Mike Scott and Judy, particularly as Mike has experienced severe ill health in recent times. Grace was said by Mike Scott, Martin Haley gave the loyal toast, President Eric toasted the guests, with his personal supply of Beaujolais Nouveau brought over specially from France, with a response from Lyn Snelgrove, and Philip Ayers gave the final toast: Skål the World Over. Somehow or other, Martin and Derek managed to organise a very generous raffle (which raised £230 for the RNLI), in between courses, involving two star prizes of dinner, bed and breakfast at the Lansdowne and Cooden Beach hotels.

A Skål Gala Night can always be judged on the number of people dancing which is usually down to the band. This year, "All Time High" had everyone up on their feet with Edward Lewis, among others, leading the way thanks to an attractive musical selection. There was a singularly happy and enjoyable feeling about the entire evening.

Thanks to the Lansdowne Hotel and thanks to all those involved in the organisation of the Gala Night.

All too soon, it was time for the National Anthem and Auld Lang Syne but a hard core was said to have kept the bar going until much later!"


Christmas lunch will be on Saturday, 10th December in a private room at James Kimber’s  Cooden Beach Hotel. Menu options for the 3 courses can be ordered on the day and James’s special rate of £25 will include tea/coffee and mince pies.

The menu choices are as follows:


  • Pastry Tart Filled with Mushrooms, Creamy Stilton Sauce (v, gf)
  • Smoked Scottish Salmon, Orange & Bourbon Dressing & Capers
  • Duck & Orange Terrine, Apricot & Stem Ginger Chutney
  • Homemade Leek & Potato Soup, Chive Crème Fraiche (v)

Main Course

  • Roast Turkey, Bacon wrapped Chipolatas, Chateau Potatoes, Rich Gravy & Cranberry Sauce
  • Chargrilled Sirloin Steak, Mushroom Tartare, Dauphinoise Potato, Merlot Sauce
  • Grilled Sea Bass, King Prawn Tails, Creamed Potato, Salsa Verde
  • Sage & Onion Nut Roast, Chateau Potatoes, Creamy Stilton Sauce (v)
  • All Served with Chef’s Selection of Seasonal Vegetables


  • Christmas Pudding, Brandy Butter (v)
  • Lemon Roulade, Blueberry Drizzle, Vanilla & Poppy Seed Cream
  • Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Sauce (v, gf)
  • A Trio of Christmas Cheese, Celery, Grapes, Apple, Selection of Savoury Biscuits & Crackers (v)
  • Freshly Brewed Coffee & Mince Pies

Please reply to Philip Ayers using the information in the newsletter Word document.


The Annual General Meeting is being held on Sunday, January 22 at Edward’s Lansdowne Hotel, Eastbourne. Coffee is being arranged for 11.00 and the AGM will start at 11.30. This will be followed at 1.00 with a Burns lunch including a choice of Haggis on the menu.

The Presidential Handover lunch will be held at The Star, Alfriston on Sunday, 26 February. Full details to follow but to make sure you do not miss these two events put the dates in your new diaries.


With the cancellation of the proposed visit to Westminster our October meeting took place on 7th with lunch at Christine and Philip’s lovely house in Litlington, writes Graham Apppleby. The select little band of 12 included our President Eric, The Gays, The Rolands, The Applebys, Neville, Pat and Sheila all the way from Croydon, and of course our hosts.

What a treat our absent friends missed! Starting with a wonderful fish or cold meat dish of which some of us had both! No names, no pack drill!  This was followed by a lovely casserole and vegetables after which cheese, some super brie and biscuits and Christine’s delicious bread and butter pudding. If I went further to describe other delicacies and drinks we might have consumed I could be accused of trying to make those who weren’t able to attend envious. But we did have a very pleasant and fulfilling time with plenty of “amicale”.

The raffle which Marianne and Bernard supervised raise £37 for club funds.

Altogether a very enjoyable afternoon.


  • December – Saturday 10: Christmas Lunch at Cooden Beach Hotel, Cooden Beach, Bexhill, East Sussex TN39 4TT. Tel: 01424 842281. Time: 12.00 for 12.30. Cost: £25.00.
    Overnight stay: £55 per person. Book direct with hotel quoting Skål.


  • January 22: AGM and Burns Lunch, Lansdowne Hotel, King Edward Parade, Eastbourne, E Sussex BN21 4EE. Tel: 01323 725174. Cost: TBA. Time: 11.00 for coffee; 11.30 AGM; 1pm Lunch.
  • February – Saturday 25: Eastbourne Hospitality Association Dinner, Hydro Hotel, Eastbourne, East Sussex. Time: TBA. Cost: TBA.
  • February  – Sunday 26: Presidential Handover lunch at The Star Inn, Alfriston. Cost: £24. Time 12.30 for 1pm.
  • March – Saturday 25: Walking tour of Rye plus Lunch at Webbes, Rye. Cost: Lunch £24, optional cost for walking tour. Time 12.15 for 12.45.
  • April – Friday 28: International Day evening meal at Old Tollgate Hotel, Bramber BN44 3WE. Tel: 01903 879494. Cost and Time TBA.
  • May – Saturday 20: Visit to Cote d’Opale, Escalles, France. Lunch at Restaurant Le Cap.
  • June ­­– Thursday 15: Fish & Chips Lunch and visit to Spa Valley Railway, Royal Tunbridge Wells.
  • July – Sunday 16: President’s Garden Party, Old Rectory, Litlington.
  • August: Tripartite Meeting with Oxford and Southampton.
  • September – Friday 22/24: National Assembly hosted by Brighton, Sussex and The Channel. Lansdowne Hotel, Eastbourne – visit to Brighton
  • October: Skittles
  • November – Saturday 11: President’s Gala Night, Cooden Beach Hotel.
  • December  – 2 or 3: Christmas Lunch Party, Litlington.


The winners of the November 200 Club were: 1st: Francis Keys-Massey (Guernsey); 2nd: Joe Hickson (Oxford); 3rd: Jimmy Eichelgruen (London).

The very lucky winner of our Century Club draw for October and November is Martin Haley.


Well…nothing! There has not been a Council meeting since the November Newsletter. But the next meeting will be on 10 December so if you have anything you would like discussed please contact Eric Etienne or Edward Lewis before then.