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October 31, 2020 2:52 PM

Welcome to my first annual report as chairperson, and what a strange year it's been.

We started the year dusting ourselves down from a national defeat in the General Election. I'm pleased to note that locally we fought one of our strongest campaigns of recent years; doubling our vote for Nick Perry with the help of some generous donations and a lot of leg work from our volunteers across the constituency. We had a highly successful leafleting campaign in the outlying villages, as well as in Hastings and Rye.

Plans for our May Council Elections, including getting candidates in place, and our social and fund raising activities were well underway when Covid 19 arrived!

The Executive and the Campaign groups have continued to meet via zoom, although obviously our activities have been greatly reduced.

For the first time we have been meeting regularly with East Sussex and SE Regional LibDems, via Zoom of course. The plan is to strongly contest the East Sussex County Council Elections in May 2021 in the hope of turning the county into no overall control. Towards this end, at the county level, we have employed Nasser Kessell to co-ordinate the campaign.

Our councillors on Rother District Council, Howard Norton in Winchelsea, and Andrew Mier in Fairlight have been very busy with committee work and reorganising the senior management of Rother Council. Howard and Andrew are members of the ruling Alliance, along with Independents, Labour and one Green. Andrew is reporting in more detail separately, but I applaud the progress made towards consensus politics.

Our members have continued to challenge HBC particularly on planning issues, the Testing Station on The Stade, as well as ESCC parking charges and new parking restrictions on the seafront. Our Honorary President Pam Brown OBE has continued her campaigning spirit and helped save the Isabel Blackman Centre in the Old Town after it was closed by ESCC. We also supported the campaign it keeps the fire stations in Rye and on The Ridge fully operational at weekends.

Sadly Nick Perry has decided to stand down as our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, but I would like the take this opportunity to thank him for all his hard work over many years. Also, a big thank you to Paul Hunt, as you may have heard he has taken on the post of Vicar at St Clements Church in the Old Town so he will not be as active in the local party as previously.

Should you wish to help contribute to the local party in any way please do let us know, we are looking for new committee members, and council candidates, as well as donations.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the volunteers, especially committee members who have given up so much of their time to keep the local party functioning this year.

I wish you and our party all success for 2021.

Bob Lloyd