Maisie Doswell OYPA web

A student described as ‘the most courageous teenager you will meet’ has been crowned the Outstanding Young Person of the Month.

Thirteen year old Maisie Doswell has a very rare genetic disease called Myhres syndrome, a condition which can cause short stature, hearing and vision loss and limited joint mobility. As a result of this, Maisie has a VP shunt fitted – also known as a brain drain – to ease the pressure on her brain, and she has undergone numerous operations during the last five years.

She has missed many years of school but has recently returned to Robertsbridge Community College to continue her studies. Maisie, who lives in Udimore near Rye, was nominated by her mum, Karey Mason.

She said: “Maisie is the most courageous teenager you will meet. She never lets anything get her down and her ambition is amazing. She’s gone back to school and even though she struggles, she is determined to become something. She makes us so proud and the award couldn't go to a more deserving and brave child. I also want to thank Robertsbridge Community College for all their support.”

The Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award is sponsored by Sussex Coast College Hastings and the Hastings Observer Series.

The award is presented to someone aged 18 and under who has excelled in some way. This could be in sport, their academic studies, or if they have performed an important role on a voluntary basis in their own home or the wider community.

Justin Rollings, Head of Marketing and Communications at Sussex Coast College Hastings, said: “I admire Maisie’s determination to keep studying at school and do her very best, despite her health issues. She’s inspirational and I was delighted to present her with the award.”

As part of her award, Maisie will receive a complimentary meal for two and a £100 donation will be made to the Lion Ward at Kings College Hospital.

To nominate someone for the Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with details of who you are nominating and the reasons why.

 MacMillanCoffeeMorn web

Staff from Sussex Coast College Hastings baked cakes to support the Macmillan coffee morning last Friday and with help from Hastings Direct, raised £500 for the charity.

(1 minute read)

Twelve entrants whisked up a variety of beautiful cakes including cupcakes, brownies, Rice Krispy cakes, rainbow cakes, and cakes topped with candy.

To add a sprinkling of fun to the proceedings, a panel of judges rated each of the cakes on their appearance, texture and taste to decide a winner. After much deliberation, and quite a few mouthfuls, the judges begrudgingly tasted the delightful samples and eventually decided on a winner, a runner-up and a 3rd place.

MacMillanCoffeeMornJudges web

Vicki Corr, who was judged to have the tastiest cake last year, once again took first place with her strawberry sensation sponge cake.

Toddlers from the Jigsaw Nursery then helped to sell slices of cake to staff and students in the college, raising a total of £340. Hastings Direct then generously donated £160 to round the final figure up to £500.

Judge and Head of Marketing, Justin Rollings said: “The quality and standard of cakes baked and donated were outstanding and it clearly showed that everybody involved rose to the challenge. A big well done goes to Vicki, who has now won two years in a row, and a big thank you goes to everyone who supported and contributed to the morning, including Hastings Direct for their generous donation.”

The Coffee Morning is one of Macmillan’s biggest fundraising events for people facing cancer. Since the first coffee morning in 1990, donations have reached over £138 million.

 UCH deckchair logo web

The brand new University Centre Hastings, offering a range of higher education and degree courses, is now open.

(3 minute read)

Building work to develop the fifth floor and engineering wing at Sussex Coast College’s Station Plaza and Ore Valley campuses has now been completed, and the Centre welcomed the new cohort of students earlier this week.

The work has taken just seven months to complete and has increased the two campuses teaching space by over 1,500 square metres. 12 classrooms, 2 lecture rooms, individual study spaces and 2 common rooms have been created across the two sites for higher education students to take advantage of.

The Station Plaza campus, which will host 6 brand new BA (Hons) courses in art and design, will feature a photography and film studio and dedicated personal project room, as well as open plan studio space for art students to work in.

UCH artstudio web 

The Ore Valley campus will be home to brand new BSc Top-up courses in Engineering and Computing and will boast lecture rooms, a common room and a dedicated Electrical and Electronics Lab, complete with a CAD studio, featuring the latest software and technology.

Over 700 square feet of new internal walls have been installed, over 1,200 square metres of carpet and ecotiles laid, and over 3,000 square metres of ceilings and walls have been painted.

UCH corridor web 

Over 400 pieces of furniture, 15 white boards and 10 interactive Promethean boards have been installed to complete the University Centre.

All of this has been added to the existing Learning Resource Centres, a Subway, Coast Coffee shop, fully-equipped Gym, and college canteens, to provide students with an exceptional university experience.

Sussex Coast College Hastings has invested £250,000 into the development of the University Centre Hastings, along with £150,000 from the University of Brighton and a further £100,000 grant was secured from the Higher Education Funding Council’s Catalyst Fund.

UCH commonroom web

Clive Cooke, Principal at Sussex Coast College Hastings, said “This is a fantastic time for the college and the town as we look to grow our Higher Education offering. It has been a fantastic achievement for everyone involved to make the University Centre Hastings a reality in such a short time frame, and I’m delighted that the Centre is now open.

The University Centre is looking fantastic and I’m very excited to welcome the new cohort of students to study with us this year.

“To coincide with the opening of the University Centre Hastings, we have also launched a brand new, dedicated, website with details of all of our courses.”

“We’re working with the Hastings & Rother Taskforce to ensure the University Centre offers courses that meet the local economic need. Our Higher Education offer will have a strong vocational element ensuring that students benefit from strong, local work experience opportunities that develop their employability and support the businesses they work with too.”

“Our courses are available to study full and part-time, with much of the provision also available to study as a Higher Apprenticeship.

If anybody is interested please contact the college and we are more than happy to talk about available options.”

Professor Chris Pole, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton said: “The new University Centre is a great asset for Hastings that safeguards the future delivery of Higher Education in the town. We are delighted to have secured financial support to ensure its development and look forward to seeing the University Centre continue to grow and expand its course provision.”


So October is here and it is now official autumn. The best thing about October has to be Halloween.

So we thought we’d look ahead to the end of the month and give you a few ideas on some of the best things to wear, eat, watch and do this October.

What to watch

What better way to start Halloween season than to watch horror movies. There are so many scary films out there, some may not be suitable for you if you’re under 18 (you’ll just have to wait a few years), but we thought we’d take a quick poll to discover which movies you really have to watch if you want a scare (rated 15 and below).


 *It should be made clear at this point – while these films are our favourite, we cannot be held responsible for the level of scariness – watch them if you dare!

The Boy (15)

If you get freaked out by dolls, then this one probably isn’t for you. Basically, a woman is hired as a nanny to look after a young boy, but soon finds out that the child she was hired to care for is a life-sized porcelain doll. Isolated and alone in the house, she begins to question whether the doll is actually alive, and learns she wasn't just hired - she was chosen.

Orphan (15)

There is just something about creepy possessed children that makes for a great plot in a horror movie. After the tragic loss of their unborn child, Kate and John try to regain stability in their marriage by adopting another child. Do we need to say anymore…

Woman in Black (12)

This one is based on the classic ghost story (Woman in Black) where a lawyer travels to a village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House. He soon uncovers the town's tragic and tortured secrets and must find a way to break the cycle of terror. You’ll never be able to watch Harry Potter in the same way again!

The Conjuring (15)

So, we always get a little freaked out when the film starts with the words ‘based on a true story’. The Conjuring tells the suspenseful tale of two world renowned paranormal investigators, who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse.

Hocus Pocus (PG)

We had to throw this one in there. Not as terrifying as the other four (and quite funny), Hocus Pocus has become somewhat of a Halloween classic. Set three hundred years after they were sentenced to die in Salem, a trio of witches return to gain their revenge. Terrorising the town on their vacuum cleaners, the only thing that can stop them is a black cat.


What to wear

If you’re planning to go to, or host your own Halloween party this year, then you’ll need something to wear. What can be more topical than two costumes from two popular horror movies released this year:


It seems as if there are lots of people scared of clowns, so we probably don’t need to say much more. Grab a red balloon and the costume is complete.

Another character that seems to scare a lot of people is a creepy little wooden doll that rides on a tricycle asking people if they’d like to play a game. Tricycle not included with this one.

If these two don’t take your fancy, then you can always find suitable Halloween attire from Substance in Hastings. Tonnes of outfits and accessories, and you can get 10% off with a loyalty card!


What to make

If you’re anything like me, then carving a pumpkin takes forever and the end result is just a smiley face. But some people are just amazing! So, to give you a little inspiration to make your own masterpiece, check out some of these: 


If any of those have inspired you, then you can pick up a cheap carving set on Amazon to start your own (although you may need to be over 18 to purchase this).


What to eat

So what should you do with all the left over pumpkin? Well here are 35 amazing cheesecakes recipes for you to make to impress your guests at your Halloween party. Click the image below.

Pumpkin Cheesecake


What to do

What better way to spend the scariest month of the year than by joining a guided ghost tour around Hastings (if you’re brave enough!). Join the event organisers on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th October to step across the ripples of time in this ancient old town to meet the people who made up Hastings’ dark past and discover secrets that should have stayed on the lips of those they were buried with!

Ghost Walk 

Family fun for all ages with dress up advised. Meet at Butlers Gap (Chess Square just next to Dragon Bar), George Street, for a 7pm start. Adults £10, children under 16 £3. No need to book, just pay on the night! 

Xander august winner web

Winning the Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award was the icing on the cake for a keen young baker who raised money for charity.

Eight year old Xander Tame from Hastings attends Castledown Primary School. He has high functioning autism but doesn’t let it stand in his way and enjoys playing football, cooking and baking.

Xander made a selection of cupcakes, brownies, pizzas and biscuits and also sold ice lollies over several weeks, helping to raise more than £50 for the World Wildlife Fund. His love of animals led to him choosing to help the world’s leading independent conservation organisation.

The Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award is sponsored by Sussex Coast College Hastings and the Hastings Observer Series.

The award is presented to someone aged 18 and under who has excelled in some way. This could be in sport, their academic studies, or if they have performed an important role on a voluntary basis in their own home or the wider community.

Ashley Chapman, Marketing and Communications Executive at Sussex Coast College Hastings, said: “We’re really impressed with Xander. Not many eight year olds would be prepared to give up so much of their time at home to bake for school friends. He raised an impressive amount for the World Wildlife Fund and I understand he’s carrying on with his fundraising mission and is planning to help another charity next year.”

As part of his award, Xander will receive a complimentary meal for two and a £100 donation will be made to the charity of his choice.

To nominate someone for the Outstanding Young Person of the Month Award, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with details of who you are nominating and the reasons why.

Italian Group web

Sussex Coast College welcomed a group of Italian students to Hastings last month to study English.

(2 minute read)

64 students from Ugo Morin High School, in Mestre, in the province of Venice, travelled to the south coast to improve their English for two weeks and work towards their CEFRL (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) C1 and C2 in English.

The students, who were all about to begin their fourth year at school, stayed at the Robert Tressell halls in St Leonards and made their way to college each day for 6 hours of English lessons.

Isabel Maguolo said: “I did not expect such a beautiful college. Inside, you can relax and buy drinks from Coast Coffee and play table-tennis in the atrium. I really enjoyed how the teachers interacted with us, and although we had to study, I really enjoyed the lessons.”

It was the second time that the school and college have worked together to arrange the two-week study trip, and for many of the students, it was their first time in the UK.

Claudio Aiello really enjoyed his time in Hastings, and said that the opportunity to study here was too good to turn down.

“We heard about the study trip from other students and teachers, and we all wanted to come and experience the UK to practise our English,” said Claudio. “The college is beautiful and really modern, and nothing like I have experienced in Italy.”

During their free time the students had the opportunity to explore Hastings and arrange weekend excursions to Brighton for some shopping, Oxford to visit famous places from the Harry Potter movies, and a day trip to Canterbury for a typically English tour of the Cathedral.

On the final Friday of the study trip, the students were treated to an indoor BBQ and were presented with certificates.

Dario De Franceschi said: “I thought the college was amazing. The teachers were really kind and very good at explaining tricky parts of the English language, and I would come back again if I had the opportunity.”

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