Library summer reading challenge encourages 14,000 children in West Sussex

Library volunteers giving up their time for the summer reading challenge were given certificates
Library volunteers giving up their time for the summer reading challenge were given certificates

After last week with my diary being a bit quieter than normal, this week was full of engagements with lots to tell you about.

I started on Monday evening at the library for a presentation of certificates to volunteers who have been giving their time for the summer reading challenge ‘mischief makers’ which saw them celebrating much-loved comic The Beano. When I read this I was quite intrigued having been a fond reader as a child, however I did wonder if this was something which children were still reading and enjoying today. I was delighted to find out that Dennis, Gnasher and friends are still well received.

The children taking part in the challenge this year followed clues to explore their colourful collectors maps of Beanotown, collecting stickers to help them find the mysterious buried treasure!

After registering online children were rewarded with a special mischief makers wristband and had to read through books and come to the library to tell the team what they had read, and once they had read the six books and solved the puzzle they were rewarded with a special certificate and medal.

This summer term reading challenge is a national scheme which encourages children to visit libraries and read books during the summer, and in West Sussex almost 14,000 children have taken part this year. It was wonderful to meet the local volunteers who made this scheme possible.

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Other than when my drag alter-ego had been let loose in the past, I never liked to have my photo taken and would often hide away whenever a camera crept out. Since becoming mayor this is something I have had to overcome as I was told the mayor cannot hide when a photo opportunity arose.

So, on Wednesday, the challenge was really on having been asked to join the Littlehampton and District Camera Club to not only meet with their members but to also act as a life model to give them a subject for portraits.

Do not worry, no cameras were harmed during this engagement and I actually found myself enjoying the evening. The group are exceptionally welcoming and it was interesting to see the different techniques being used to get that elusive perfect picture. I have only seen a couple of the photos taken that evening and am excited to see some more.

Friday evening, joined by the deputy mayor Tracey Baker, we headed to the World’s End public house in Patching to attend the Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest presentations.

The evening saw presentations of 24 cheques made to very good causes of varying amounts and with more cheques still to be given out.

It was amazing to see how much all these charities do with the money awarded and the passion everyone involved in the Community Chest has for what they are doing.

The Gazette, which is part of the Sussex Newspapers group which is one of the partners making this possible, has a full report on the evening on this week’s centre spread, but a huge well done to everyone involved.

Finally the weekend was upon us and I started with a trip to the Littlehampton Museum for a private preview of the latest exhibition which sees fantastic works from artists across Sussex filling the two galleries for a spectacular exhibition on the theme of movement.

I was surprised and delighted by the wonderful array of paintings in all kinds of media and painted not only on canvas but some on slate tiles giving a very different effect.

There were also sculpted works in wood, stone and other materials and much more besides, it really is worth taking the time to have a look at what our local artists have produced with tastes to suit all with the exhibition continuing until Friday, October 26.

Finally, I finished my week off with a visit to the Windmill Theatre where once again it was alive with a live performance, this time by the Littlehampton Town Concert Band presenting their Last Night of the Proms concert.

The performance started with the national anthem before the band took us on holiday through music including Mexican Holiday, Hotel California, Bugle’s Holiday before finishing the first half with a sensational rendition of the music from Pirates of the Caribbean.

The second half was British through and through with well-known pieces including I Vow to Thee my Country, Jerusalem and ending on our own local favourite Sussex by the Sea, with much flag waving throughout all the sell-out performance.

Well done to the band and all involved, I’d like to give a special mention to Bob Haselip, who not only wonderfully conducted the band throughout the performance but also acted as compère with his own comic styling.

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