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1943: Mobile delivery to the poor

Since February, 1941, a Church Army mobile canteen has been operating from Cuckfield to the isolated units in a wide area. The time has arrived when the canteen must either be overhauled or replaced, and Mrs Julian Grande, of Knowle, Cuckfield, who has had the management of the canteen since it began its career of useful service, is appealing for £350 to meet this expense.

Since the canteen began its work among the isolated units two-and-a-half years ago, there has been no appeal for help locally. Although Miss Hall, manager of the Cuckfield canteen, has given £5 each Christmas to be spent on gifts for the troops.

As an indication of the extent of the work, it may be mentioned that in one year the mobile canteen travelled some thousands of miles, paid 2,415 visits to small sites and served 56,910 members of the forces. The area covered used to extend as far as partridge green, now served by another canteen, and still includes Burgess Hill, Staplefield, Balcombe, Ardingly, Warninglid and Colgate.

Event of the day

Many of the sites visited are in lonely places, and the call of the Church Army mobile canteen is the event of the day.

The canteen is really a travelling shop. From which, anything can be purchased from bootlaces to face powder, in addition to the welcome cup of tea and cakes. Those in charge also serve as a link with the outer world by acting as posters of letters. Carriers of parcels and a migratory library, giving out books kindly presented by the public the permanent staff of drivers consists of Miss MJ Baker and Mrs. Martin.

Occasional voluntary duty is also given by Mrs. Clifford and others. The canteen is housed at Knowle, and Mrs Grande has also set apart her dining room as a store for the parcels of cigarettes, button polish, bootlaces, notepaper, soft drinks, matches and the many things service men and women need in their isolated but important outposts, far removed in many instances from even the smallest, village.

We feel sure the generous people of Cuckfield and the neighbourhood will not allow this appeal to go unheeded. It may be mentioned that one of the last duties performed by the venerable founder of the Church Army, Prebendary Carlile, was. To bless the Cuckfield mobile canteen. Subscriptions for the canteen should be sent to Mrs Julian Grande, at the above address, and will be acknowledged in The Mid Sussex Times.

Mid Sussex Times, 25 August 1943.

Illustration: JM's World War One Sketchbooks - one of 123 pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours from two volumes titled: 'Sketches of the War: France/Belgium'.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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