MAYOR’S MOMENT: Enjoying the great outdoors

The Ukulele Jam of Jams on the Stage by the Sea
The Ukulele Jam of Jams on the Stage by the Sea

I had a rather elegant start to my week finding myself out of Littlehampton at the invitation of the High Sherriff of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard, for a garden party at her home Parham House.

This was her opportunity to welcome and thank the local dignitaries from across West Sussex.

Parham House gardens

Parham House gardens

The High Sheriff acts as the Crown’s representative and actively lends support and encouragement to crime prevention agencies, the emergency services and to the voluntary sector.

Many High Sheriffs also assist community foundations and local charities working with vulnerable and other people, both in endorsing and helping to raise the profile of their valuable work.

It was lovely to meet with Lady Emma again having already having had the pleasure when she attended Armed Forces Day in Littlehampton, and at other local events.

As always she made everyone very welcome with her down to earth and approachable manner, putting everybody at ease in her home.

Littlehampton Concert Band

Littlehampton Concert Band

Having had the pleasure of sampling the gardens at Parham Park, Thursday saw me enjoy the task of judging the horticultural talents of our own town’s people in the Littlehampton Town Council Gardens and Allotments Competition 2017.

The local residents certainly proved their skills were every bit as good as those I had experienced earlier in the week and proved a hard task for me and my fellow judging panel.

With classes including best front and back gardens, best community garden and best infant/junior school, the standards proved exceptionally high making it a very difficult job to decide.

Praise must go to all the individuals and volunteers who make the community gardens so special for all to enjoy, and I would encourage any keen gardeners to consider entering next year.

Saturday saw the launch of the Littlehampton Organisation of Community Arts (LOCA) Arts Week ‘Love Littlehampton’ with their festival in the park at Caffyn’s Field.

This extremely hard-working group was setup with the aim of artists working communally up-cycling, recycling and creating through their chosen mediums, promoting beauty, truth, understanding and forgiveness through art.

On the whole helping others in finding wholeness through creative expression at a grass-roots level.

This free event provided all-round family entertainment featuring art and craft stalls, community organisation and groups area, children’s amusements, circus skills workshop and street food stalls which could be enjoyed whilst enjoying live music performances with something to suit all tastes.

One of my personal favourites was the exclusive debut performance by rock legends Hot & Sticky who expressed their tribute to the 70s era with their own unique style of rainbow lycra, coloured fur boots and long wigs!

This event certainly proved what a colourful, diverse and welcoming town we live in, with many residents and visitors expressing to me their enjoyment of the event, and confirming the town can truly live up to our town motto of ‘Progress’.

Sunday morning saw the next event in LOCA’s calendar, with them holding for the second year running their Ukulele Jam of Jams at the Stage by the Sea on Littlehampton promenade.

This saw our own talented local players performing before visiting groups from along the south coast from Portsmouth to Eastbourne, each taking their turn on the stage.

There was opportunity for spectators to join in and sing along with the various groups whilst relaxing enjoying the barbecue and refreshments which were being provided by the 4th Littlehampton Scout Group to help them raise funds.

I was amazed to see how popular the ukulele has become and how the instruments are so beautifully crafted.

This event demonstrated the keenness of the musicians to share in their talents and it was a pleasure to welcome so many of them to our town.

As this is seemingly a unique event on the south coast, I am sure this will continue to go from strength to strength and I look forward to a return visit next year.

From this I along with several others enjoyed a brisk stroll along the promenade to Mewsbrook Park where the Littlehampton Concert Band were performing a free open air concert, at the invitation of the Friends of Mewsbrook Park.

Crowds gathered armed with deck chairs and picnic blankets to meet with friends and family and enjoy the surrounding of the park whilst listening to this talented band.

They played a wide repertoire of varied pieces, including a selection from Chicago, Pirates of the Caribbean and a Disney medley with the audience enjoying recognising and joining in with the popular tunes.

This was a real family event with children being able to play in the park whilst the parents were able to enjoy the band.

Even the band’s musical director Bob Haeslip proved he was multi-skilled – at one point cradling his child whilst conducting the band with his other arm!

There was a collection which the band had kindly agreed could be in aid of my chosen charities for this year – the Friends of Mewsbrook Park and The Littlehampton Heritage Railway Association – and thanks to the crowds generosity this reached a total of £157.67, which will be forwarded to my annual total after a donation has been made to the band’s fund in appreciation for their support.

As previously mentioned, LOCA has a week of activities for all to enjoy in the town, including their “Chalk on the Pebbles, Shoreline Sculptures and Architectural Sketch Crawl, all which take place from Thursday onwards and the Littlehampton Arts Trail.

The exhibition runs until Monday, July 24, taking in 25 locations displaying work by local and Sussex based artists in businesses and public buildings all around the town.

For further information on the LOCA activities please see their Facebook site, www.facebook.com/LOCALittlehamptonArts/ or call 01903 722666 for details.

Have a great week!

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