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  • Writer's pictureJane Brook

December Newsletter 2023

Updated: Jan 2

In with the New!

The final new member of 2023 to welcome to our ranks as the year draws to an end:

We are looking forward to getting to know them better in 2024!

Festive Networking Success

The Chamber Christmas Party at The Mermaid on the evening of the 13th December was a festive treat! It was well attended by members and non-members alike and we had a rather lively evening. Thanks to Judith and Martin Blincow for hosting us and for the bucks fizz, and delicious food. Thanks also to Jacob Willoughby and Sally Bayly for keeping us entertained with Christmas tunes!

Rye Roundup: your at-a-glance digest of Chamber activity for the last month

Christmas In Rye

The Christmas In Rye Festival was a successful day by all accounts with our Town traders reporting excellent footfall and a superb sales results.

Despite the cold weather, the car parks were full all day suggesting a decent inflow of visitor traffic. Congratulations to Cllr. Sophie Judge and the Festival Committee team for all their hard work.

Congratulations also to Mark Walter of The Green Room who had his best day trading to date on the day! Read our Spotlight interview with Mark The Green Room to learn more about his business.

Sarah Broadbent representing Rye Chamber on TV.
Sarah Broadbent representing Rye Chamber on TV.


We were approached by BBC Networks, BBC South East, ITV Meridian and provided comment on the commercial impact of the closure of the Pontins site at Camber when the news broke on 1st December.  Vice Chair Sarah Broadbent did such a sterling job, running about with the news teams over two days in the freezing weather.

We have subsequently been in contact with both Rother District Council and our MP Sally Ann Hart to request that the Chamber be included in discussions about the future use of the site and its impact on the businesses of Camber and Rye.

Encouraging collaboration and joined-up thinking

Rye Chamber is contributing to discussions around the formation of a new Rye Environmental & Climate Change Group led by Cllr. Vagn Hansen. The Chamber is facilitating introductions to the other local environmental groups to try to avoid duplication and unwittingly working in silos. Rye is very fortunate to have a pool of subject experts and passionate enthusiasts all working towards a common goal - let's work together!

Environment, Climate Change & Sustainability will be a core focus for Rye Chamber in 2024, our strategy which will include events, education and information will be launched in January – watch his space!


In the absence of any active tourism strategy from the town council, Rye Chamber is working with Rye Heritage Centre to consider how tourism information for the town might be effectively handled going forward.

As a starting point Rye Chamber and Rye Heritage Centre undertook an audit of tourism signage in the town to assess what needs replacing and updating.  

Postal Delays

Rye Chamber were approached by BBC Southeast to provide comment on businesses experiencing problems with postal delays on the run up to Christmas. No businesses came forward, in fact most responded to say they weren’t experiencing any issues so we had nothing to report! If you were affected, let us know.


We’re sad to say goodbye to long standing Chamber members The Pette Shoppe which closed its doors just before Christmas after 28 years on the High Street. Jill and Steve Wilson are retiring and we wish them well and thank them for their contribution to Rye. Having already sold their business in Bexhill, the Rye premises is on the market (and under offer) with Phillips and Stubbs. The building has been a pet shop for 60 years so there aren’t many people in the area who will remember any other type of merchant at this site!

The Pettte Shoppe Closed it doors for the last time.
The Pette Shoppe Closed it doors for the last time.

We’re also very sad to say goodbye to The Brewery Yard Club which has now also closed its doors after three fabulous years. From live music and comedy nights, private events and fundraisers, and not forgetting the now legendary Drag Bingo with Timberlina and Auntie Maureen, the venue has been a much loved and needed nightspot in our small town.

Thank you Jane and Elise for making it such a special place and we’ll be watching this space for your next events in new places!

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