Record turnout at fair under threat from bypass

Esme Askew, left, and sister Ayla invite visitors to guess how many spots are on the pony  at Binsteds Strawberry Fair. Pictures: Derek Martin DM16131026a
Esme Askew, left, and sister Ayla invite visitors to guess how many spots are on the pony at Binsteds Strawberry Fair. Pictures: Derek Martin DM16131026a

Binsted’s popular Strawberry Fair drew record crowds of more than 1,000 people yesterday.

Attractions included a ‘unicorn’ and green man, along with a host of other traditional stalls and activities, and organisers were delighted with the turnout from near and far.

Mike Tristram, trustee of Friends of Binsted Church, said: “Once again, our Strawberry Fair has attracted record crowds.

“It never ceases to amaze us to see so many people coming here from far and wide across Sussex.

“I think the secret of the fair’s success is that it manages to capture the essence of rural village life, with lots of traditional crafts and produce, together with plenty of activities for all ages. This year we have had everything from a unicorn painted pony to bushcraft survival skills.”

The fair has been an annual event in the village for the past 29 years.

Christian Wilson, Joanna Morrison and daughter Ceitidh, eight DM16131030a

Christian Wilson, Joanna Morrison and daughter Ceitidh, eight DM16131030a

However, it is now facing an uncertain future because Binsted’s strawberry fields are directly in the path of one of the route options being considered by Highway England for the new Arundel bypass.

The road threat was reflected in the tone for this year’s fair, with a strong emphasis on conservation and the local environment.

Among the stalls were CPRE Sussex, South Downs National Park, the Mid Arun Valley Ecological Survey Group, South Downs Society, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Forest Knights and Worthing Archaeological Society.

Mike added: “This is one of the most popular village fairs in Sussex and its loss would be felt for miles around. There are no other suitable pastures and barns in the village where it could be held.

Amara Wymbs, four, hooks a duck DM16131033a

Amara Wymbs, four, hooks a duck DM16131033a

“We keep this much-visited 12th-century church in repair thanks almost entirely to funds raised by the local community through its Strawberry Fair.

“The road threat is blighting Binsted’s community and the tranquil landscape, which attracts so many to this area.”

Proceeds from this year’s fair will go to Binsted church repairs, Doctors Without Borders, CPRE Sussex and South Downs Society.

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Liam Campbell, 12, batting the rat on one of the sideshows DM16131039a

Liam Campbell, 12, batting the rat on one of the sideshows DM16131039a

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