LEWES, the Fifth of November "Bonfire Town" — where antiCatholics still burn an effigy of the Pope on Guy Fawkes' Night —is to have a Catholic as its Mayor during Coronation Year.'
He is Alderman James Bennett, 41year-old accountant in practice in London and Haslemere. When he takes office in May he will be the first Catholic Mayor of Lewes.
But it seems unlikely that the antiCatholics will cease the practice of burning an effigy of the Pope. Every year there are protests about it, sometimes from Anglican clergy.
Alderman Bennett is a convert, and so is his wife, Mrs, Elizabeth Jemima Anne Bennett.
"I decided to become a Catholic after we had been engaged for three years. and my husband became a Catholic a year later," Mrs. Bennett told a reporter.
Both Alderman Bennett's parents also are converts. His father, Mr. Ernest H. Bennett. of Rustington, is a member of Worthing Rural Council, and was formerly chairman of Newhaven Urban Council.
Aide' man Bennett was elected to fill a vacancy on the aldertnanic bench in 1951 created by the retirement of Alderman Dick Whittington.
The follog ing May when Alderman Whittington's term of office would have expired, Alderman Bennett was re-elected for six years.
He became a member of the town council by co-option in January, 1944, and in November of the following year he was elected to the council at the top of the poll.
For 10 years he has been hon. treasurer of the Lewes Bonfire Council —which has, of course, nothing to do with the anti-Catholic element.
Last February he was made a Freeman of the City of London. He is also a Liveryman of the Upholders' Company and took part in the election of London's new Lord Mayor.
Alderman and Mrs. Bennett have five daughters and two sons. Four of the girls and a boy are being educated by the Sisters of Providence of Rouen at Annecy Convent, Seaford.
Retreat for actors
A one-day retreat starting with sung Mass in the theatre will be given by Fr. Basil Fitzgibbon, S.J.. and Fr. Dermot Mills. S.J., for members of the theatrical and allied professions at the Interval Club, Dean Street. London, on the Feast of Christ the King.