Green Flag celebrations and Screen on the Green fun in Littlehampton

Mayor of Littlehampton Billy Blanchard-Cooper enjoyed The Greatest Showman for Screen on the Green
Mayor of Littlehampton Billy Blanchard-Cooper enjoyed The Greatest Showman for Screen on the Green

I started my week off at the Norfolk Gardens in my capacity as the chairman of the Friends of Mewsbrook Park to celebrate with stakeholders from Mewsbrook Park, Hotham Park and Marine Park Gardens in successfully retaining the Green Flag status for each of these parks, each of whom have been awarded it for eight years or more.

The celebrations were held in Norfolk Gardens as this is the first year this park has been awarded a Green Flag.

Thanks must go to the many individuals and groups who are involved in making these green spaces something for us all to be truly proud of and demonstrates how, with groups working together with Arun District Council and other stakeholders, so much more can be achieved. Well done all and keep up the good work.

The rest of the week my diary was a little quieter but come the weekend it was all systems go. I started Friday evening by attending the Screen on the Green showing of The Greatest Showman, speaking with the events team at the Littlehampton Town Council they were under no illusion and knew it was going to be a busy evening and even when I arrived at 6.30pm the green was already awash with people setting up ready for the evening.

––– Also in the news, GCSE students across the area have been celebrating after receiving their results; an Angmering grandfather has taken to caring for hedgehogs to help him overcome a spinal injury; and a memorial to honour the victims of the Shoreham Airshow crash is almost ready for installation on the banks of the River Adur –––

Being a fan of musicals I had been particularly looking forward to this event and to complement it members of Littlehampton Organisation of Community Arts were present, with entertainers doing circus skills until the show began.

As the time drew closer to the start of the film the field continued to fill up with people of all ages ready to enjoy themselves and I was amazed by just how many people were there, some of which had come from as far as Newcastle to stay with family and enjoy the evening. It was finally time for me ask the audience if they were ready to go to the Greatest Show!?

With people joining in with the songs and lights on mobile phones being waved in the air all adding into the wonderful atmosphere, it certainly was an amazing night and with more than 8,000 people joining together it made for the biggest and, in my opinion, the best Screen on the Green the town has known... so far!

Tyndall Jones organised a collection and was helped by Stuart Capelin and members of Littlehampton Organisation of Community Arts, and once the film had finished and we’d all helped with the litter pick we went home to count up and were astonished by the generosity of people as £1119.49 had been collected!

The following morning I was up bright and early to set up a tombola in aid of my charity at Mewsbrook Park for Park Fest in aid of CancerWise, although a little cloudy to begin with this didn’t stop anyone from having fun and it soon brightened up.

There were stalls, bouncy castles and numerous different acts including singers and cheer leaders throughout the day.

Well done to all involved in making the day a success and I hope lots was raised, my stall raised another £54.51 towards my charity efforts for the year and I’d like to thank Emma Neno for arranging the event and allowing me to be there.

Before Park Fest ended I had to leave early to attend a service at the United Reform Church for the induction of the Rev Naison M Hove, who joins our community from Askew Road Church, Shepherds Bush, London, and will be minister of word and sacraments to the pastorate of Littlehampton United Church (Methodist/United Reformed), St Andrew’s United Reformed Church and Emmanuel United Reformed Church in the Worthing cluster of the United Reformed Church.

It was lovely to see Naison and his family welcomed to the church by all present and particularly wonderful to see many of his congregation from Askew Road Church had come to the service to wish him well and perform in song before him for one last time.

I hope he and his family will be very happy here and I look forward to meeting again with him in the future.

After this I returned back to the seafront green for the second Screen on the Green for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Although not as busy as the previous evening, there was still a good crowd and as I had not yet seen this film I was looking forward to watching.

Once again Tyndall Jones had organised a collection and was aided by Stuart Capelin, between them they collected a further £388.38 towards my efforts for the Arun Youth Projects arts and social club bursary.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in making our first ever double Screen on the Green event a success.

As councillors at Littlehampton Town Council we are fortunate to have an amazing events team of just two people who make putting on these events look easy, but I know it’s not. Of course our events team is supported and helped by other officers at the council and I am proud of how well they all work as a team for Littlehampton.

I would also like to thank the town council’s amenity team and the thousands who attended and brought a wonderful feeling to both of the evenings.

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