MAYOR’S MOMENT: Enjoying the Sussex Day celebrations

Spinning wheel demonstration during Sussex Day celebrations at Wick Hall
Spinning wheel demonstration during Sussex Day celebrations at Wick Hall

You can tell the summer is here with lots more outdoor events starting to take place and lots more to look forward to in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, deputy mayor Tracey Baker told me about the afternoon tea she attended on my behalf, at the Fire Fighters National Benevolent Fund at Marine Court, Fitzalan Road, to celebrate and honour Carers Week.

Tracey said there was a wonderfully informative chat with the case workers and psychotherapists that play such an important part in their rehabilitation. She went on to say what an inspirational group they are and how in awe she was of people like these who play such a valuable role in our community.

On Saturday it was Sussex Day and there was lots planned to celebrate this. I started by attending the festivities that had been arranges at Wick Hall. On arrival Sussex flag bunting was proudly and prominently displayed outside and on many businesses in the area.

The day commenced with the raising of the Sussex flag with an enthusiastic rendition of Sussex by the Sea, led by the Royal Sussex Regimental Association.

There was much to see and do including spinning wheel demonstration, petting zoo, face painting, and many community stalls including the Littlehampton and District Flower Club, the Arcade Knitters and Littlehampton Patchwork and Quilting Group.

Entertainment was provided by the Arundel Community Choir and there was even a very last minute extra addition to the event being local shepherd Dylan from the National Farmers Union Young Farmers with some of his sheep and lambs for people to meet and learn about his work.

Continuing with the Sussex Day celebrations I headed into town with Tracey to the Dolphin Inn where further events had been organised by land lady Ellie.

On arrival Jive Dancing was taking place outside the pub with much merriment. We were encouraged inside by Ellie to sample local fare including cheeses and sausages, and of course it would have been rude not to try a Sussex cider or two!

Other entertainment that had already taken place before our arrival included the event being opened by a visit from the Bognor Regis town crier Jane Smith and followed with performances by the Edwin James Festival Choir, the Sussex Pond Singers and readings of Sussex themed poetry.

Having enjoyed the atmosphere, before leaving I was asked to join in with a troop of traditional clog dancers, on this occasion I had to decline as all weekend I was enduring issues from a reoccurring back problem but was delighted to volunteer the services of my much able deputy mayor who enthusiastically took part.

The bare wooden floors in the pub lent themselves perfectly to the talents of the dancers and helped to create a wonderful sound.

Later that evening I continued to mark the theme of the day by joining members of the Edwin James Festival Choir for their concert Sussex Summer Nights at St James Church. Having got to know this group particularly well last year I knew I was in for a treat.

The programme for this concert saw them combine some traditional Sussex folk songs and readings, interspersed with popular hits from the ‘70s, including numbers from Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

As always the group were under the musical direction of James Rushman and produced a delightful uplifting experience. I particularly enjoyed the opening number The Candy Man and some lovely harmonies performed in numbers such as Annie’s Song and Bohemian Rhapsody.

As usual, the group are raising funds for four charities over the year and I look forward to seeing them at their next concert, Magical Musical Memories on September 15.

The following day I attended the Cancerwise Fun Day at the Sportsman, there was lots to do including bouncy castle, giant inflatable football dartboard perfect for those building themselves up for the approaching World Cup, rides for children, side stalls, arena displays and disco entertainment provided by Studio One Disco.

Children were also entertained by Poppy from the Trolls movie while families could enjoy the barbeque, candy floss in numerous flavours or other foods available. With many there enjoying the event on Father’s Day I hope lots was raised for this good cause.

As you know, I am desperate to get around to as much as possible and so please keep those invitations coming in by calling the office on 01903 732063.

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