Could you organise Cuckfield's Poppy Appeal this year?

By Jacqueline Elmore

Long-standing Cuckfield resident and Poppy Appeal Organiser Peter Negus has been working as a volunteer supporter of the Royal British Legion (RBL) for over 20 years now. Peter first began making his collections in Copyhold Lane in the late 90s, and 12 years ago he was invited to organise the appeal throughout the village.

Peter Negus, Cuckfield

Peter Negus, Cuckfield

Not only does Peter’s involvement mean helping to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal but it also includes increasing awareness and promoting the profile of the appeal.

2018 was particularly important for the Poppy Appeal as it marked the Centenary of the Armistice that ended the First World War.

Peter explains: “I was heavily involved in liaising with the ‘Cuckfield Remembers’ committee regarding many of the commemorative events that were organised around the Armistice Centenary Day at the end of last year and was lucky enough to be part of such a memorable and historic moment in my lifetime.”

The Poppy Appeal in Cuckfield is just a small part of a nationally led campaign which last year alone raised over £50m to enable the Royal British Legion to support former members of the armed forces and their families.

Peter continues: “The public have been very supportive of the Poppy Appeal over the past few years as a result of the publicity related to the various centenaries connected with the First World War, coupled with an awareness of the part played by our military personnel recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Cuckfield alone we have seen our fundraising efforts increase over the years from £5,000 12 years ago to just under £11,000 this year.”

The Cuckfield arm of the RBL is quite separate from the Poppy Appeal, although Peter does work closely with the local branch and a number of its members are collectors for the Appeal.

The RBL was formed in 1921 in order to support current and former military staff and their families.


Whilst surviving servicemen from the First World War are now thin on the ground, there are participants and their families from more recent conflicts, from the Second World War to Iraq and Afghanistan, that rely on the RBL for assistance and support. Sadly, the world continues to be a dangerous place and further conflicts cannot be ruled out; meaning that support from the RBL may well be needed in the future and for many years to come.

As Poppy Appeal Organiser for Cuckfield, Peter coordinates 30 house to house collectors together with 70 other outlets - shops, pubs, schools, garages etc - around the village. However, after 12 years Peter is now looking to hand over the reins to someone new; to an individual who is willing to support this noble cause and be happy to spend a couple of months a year as Poppy Appeal Organiser right here in Cuckfield.

In addition, following the success and publicity generated by the recent ‘Cuckfield Remembers’ activities, the Cuckfield RBL is also seeking new members to join its band of dedicated volunteers.

The Cuckfield branch is principally associated with the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at Holy Trinity Church, but a revamped programme of social activities and speakers is being planned.

Whilst former serving members of the armed forces are always welcome, a military background is not necessary to become a member.

If you would like to find out how to get involved with the RBL in Cuckfield, contact details are as follows:

Poppy Appeal: Peter Negus. Tel: 01444 457740 or email: peternegus43 at btinternet.com

RBL Cuckfield Branch: Terry Buckland, Secretary. Email: b777fly at gmail.com

Laines Organic Farm in Cuckfield

Laines-organic-farm-cuckfield.jpg

By Jacqueline Elmore

When we think of the hymn We Plough the Fields and Scatter the image that we often conjure up is one of a tractor turning over the soil preparing for harvest.

Most of the terrain surrounding Laines Organic Farm right here in Cuckfield is cultivated by hand, not by machinery. Largely by Toos Jeuken, a Dutch farmer who arrived in West Sussex not long after Britain joined the European Union.

Toos explains: “We came to Cuckfield after the UK entered the EU. That’s why many Dutch farmers came to England at that time. Suddenly there was a great opportunity for farmers to grow things here.”

Right now the subject of the EU may be a contentious one but, standing in a sunny field of giant kale, Toos finds some humour amidst all of the panic: “Do you think they might send me back to Holland now that we’re leaving the European Union?”

All joking aside, Toos doesn’t appear to be overly concerned about her passport status. Instead her motivation is clear; to ensure that her crops are protected and well nurtured in time for harvest.

Toos arrived in Cuckfield in 1977 - a year after her father bought the farm with the sole aim of using it to grow vegetables.

The landscape of Laines Organic Farm has changed over four decades. “They built the Cuckfield bypass in 1989,” she explained, “and that split the farm in half. My Dad also sold the old house and some of the land so I now own 20 acres but that’s more than enough to grow the sorts of vegetables we need.”

Full article printed in the March 2019 issue of Cuckfield Life magazine

Sally Nakajima - Village People feature

Sally Nakajima’s ambition in life is to always capture the moment. This stemmed from losing her father to cancer at an early age and having little to remember him by.

Her career spans across the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong – where her second daughter was born. Now based in Cuckfield, she spends most of her time photographing newborn babies in beautiful and imaginative ways.

By Joe Wayte

Sally was born in Dartford and grew up in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire where some of her family still lives. She graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Fine Art. Together with her husband and two daughters, Sally fell in love with the village and moved here four years ago.

“I’ve always loved the UK – I’m a home girl,” Sally explained, “and while living in Hong Kong we would visit the UK, staying with friends who lived in Balcombe. I told my husband that I didn’t care what the house was like, but we had to live in Cuckfield – I didn’t actually see the house till we moved in, fortunately I loved it.”

[read the full story on page 10 of June 2018's issue of Cuckfield Life magazine]

Echo Baby Photography