Co-Chair Julie Eason:
2012 ended in dramatic and tragic circumstances for many people in Hastings, Fran McKeown, the matriarch of community development and a huge supporter of the Rainbow Alliance, passed away on Christmas day. Fran will leave a huge, patterned tights and big boots shaped hole in her home town. She was someone who threw herself into life, who didn’t see the boundaries between Hastings & St Leonards, or Hastings and Rother, who worked across all areas of our locality, to make the place we live in a better place to live, to grow, up, and to raise children, in. Fran worked for HVA, instrumental in the set up of HRRA ten years ago, and when HRRA hit a low patch in 2008 and was struggling to keep going, she rolled up her sleeves, and chaired the committee meetings, helping the remaining trustees see a way forward until the committee got back up to strength. Whilst she was not a member of the LGBT community, she was always a huge supporter and she came and played with HRRA members and friends; most recently, at Bingay. She enjoyed the event so much that Timberlina, the host of that evening, agreed to meet and greet people at the post funeral celebration of her life. Fran was also a personal friend to many of our members and we will miss her terribly. Our thoughts are of course with her family at this terrible time.
Fran was planning to make the next Bingay and we will be using this event to celebrate her support for us. This is scheduled to take place at the St Leonard pub on the 12th February.
There is a huge amount of work in hand for HRRA, and lots more to do, but the committee is close to full strength this year and is pleased to welcome a plethora of new faces. We are facing the future with optimism and energy. We have lost Fran from our community, but we will remember her commitment to equality, her passion for supporting the LGBT community, and we intend to do her proud in 2013.