Maltesers triumph in River Beach chocolate debate

Littlehampton mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper at the River Beach School Big Chocolate Debate
Littlehampton mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper at the River Beach School Big Chocolate Debate

In the past week I have been kept very busy, not only with various engagements but also with a number of meetings.

While I do not normally cover the meetings I will just mention a point or two from some of these.

Sherpa, a miniature steam engine at Littlehampton Miniature Railway in Mewsbrook Park

Sherpa, a miniature steam engine at Littlehampton Miniature Railway in Mewsbrook Park

One was with David Twinn from Littlehampton Twinning Association, which organises the trips to our twinned towns in France and Germany and hosts guests from those towns here in members’ homes. It is a great way to build friendships and they are always looking for new members and would love to hear from those interested.

I also had a meeting with Alison, community champion from Morrisons, as I had written asking if they might be able to assist my fundraising efforts with a raffle prize or two this year.

I was overwhelmed when Alison said my charity appeal would be one of the main ones they support in the Wick branch this year.

They will be having various bucket collection days and raffles throughout the next year and I will be trying to do some extra fundraising in the shop too.

Now on to the engagements of the week, on Thursday I headed to Wick to meet with Michelle and the team at The Flower Shop for their coffee break charity event in aid of Cancer Research UK and Butterflies, Worthing Hospital breast care support group.

The charity event was on the theme of butterflies and there was tea, coffees and cake, various raffles, including the chance to win flowers for a year, as well as tombolas.

The day was well attended and I was pleased to learn from Michelle that they had raised more than £750.

I think this is brilliant and shows what one shop can do when they all work together and put their minds to it. Well done to all involved.

That evening was full council at the Millennium Chamber which gave me a chance to be ready for the following day where I would be chairman of the River Beach School’s Great Chocolate Debate in that same room.

A selection of children from the school came to the town council to take part in this debate which was staged as a mock town council meeting, everything ran in the same way our meeting normally would, including printed agendas, explaining protocol that must be followed, approval of the minutes of the last meeting and voting on matters.

The students were extremely good at following protocol, raising their hands and waiting to be asked to talk, standing when asked and stating their name and class.

We went through the agenda and before we knew it, it was time to debate which was the best chocolate from the choice of Smarties, Milkybar Buttons and Maltesers – of course samples were provided so they had all the information needed to be able to comment correctly.

As many noted that orange Smarties tasted of orange chocolate a motion was passed to include them in the vote, and finally the vote was taken with all being advised they must vote only once.

As with all votes it was the majority that won out and so it was decided that Maltesers were the best of the four options for this year.

I really thought this was a great idea and would welcome groups or schools to get in touch if this is something they think would work well with a project they are doing or ties in with the syllabus.

That weekend I was in Mewsbrook Park where the Littlehampton Miniature Railway was holding a fun weekend to mark its 70th anniversary.

The trains had kindly let the Friends of Mewsbrook Park organise a plant sale and stall to raise funds for their projects this year and allowed me to have a cake sale to help with my fundraising efforts for the year – and I was pleased that £102 was raised from the sale.

The trains were extremely busy over the Saturday and Sunday, they had a miniature traction engine pulling a cart taking people for trips around the park, displays of miniature steam engines, old-fashioned music organs and much more – but the biggest draw was undoubtedly Sherpa, a miniature steam engine on loan from the Fairbourne Railway.

There were queues of people wanting to have a ride on the carriages being pulled by the lovely steam engine and it worked hard all day pulling the visitors between Mewsbrook Park and Norfolk Gardens, chugging away and tooting its delightful whistle.

I was invited on to ride on the footplate with the engine driver which made my day. I took the opportunity to talk with Bryan Mercer, who was driving, asking all about what each part does and he explained how people would have been started on cleaning parts of the train so they got to know how it worked, then they would have moved on to some of the maintenance tasks and so on before finally getting the chance to finally drive.

We have much to look forward to across the summer and I will continue to get to as much as I am able.

I love attending all the town has to offer and if you would like to invite me to an event please do get in touch with the office by calling 01903 732063 or email:


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