PRESENTER Michael Portillo was the guest of honour at an event celebrating the history of Arundel’s railway station on Sunday.
The former defence minister was at the railway station, in The Causeway, to film for his BBC2 programme Great British Railway Journeys.
The station will officially celebrate its 150th anniversary on Saturday, as part of the opening of this year’s Arundel Festival.
And in preparation for the celebration, staff at the station, together with members of community arts group WOW! Creative, held a special Victorian-themed event for children and families.
Dozens of youngsters, dressed as Victorian railway children, took part in the craft morning and were interviewed by the broadcaster.
Cameras crews captured the action as the children created a range of yellow, green and white flags – the colours of current railway operator Southern, a major sponsor of this year’s festival – which will be used in the festival decorations.
Mr Portillo, carrying his copy of George Bradshaw’s Victorian Railway Guidebook, visited the station to discuss the train service and the history of the Arun Valley line, which will feature in a future episode of his programme.
Sharon Blaikie, co-founder of WOW! Creative and artistic director of the Arundel Festival, was interviewed by Mr Portillo.
She said: “He was lovely and really charming with everyone he spoke to.
“He asked a lot of questions and seemed genuinely interested in learning more about what we were doing on the day and about the history of the railway.
“He interviewed myself and the children. He was really good with the children and I think they really enjoyed the experience.”
Tomorrow (Saturday, August 17) children are invited to dress as Victorians and come to the railway station.
There will be plenty of activities taking place at the site with doors opening at 10am.
The children will be parading from the station into Arundel’s High Street, where the Arundel Festival flag will be raised.
The parade is set to leave at 2pm for a service at the Town Square at 2.45pm.