MAYOR’S MOMENT: The sun has got its hat on

The civic service at St Mary's Church - Picture: Steve Flynn Media
The civic service at St Mary's Church - Picture: Steve Flynn Media

Dodging the rain at the beginning of the week I made my way to the meeting of Arun Care who made me feel most welcome.

Not having met this group until now, it was interesting to find out about them, what they do and what they offer. Every Thursday they meet at the United Church Coffee Lounge which is open to all as a drop-in from 1pm to 4pm, offering refreshments and companionship.

The civic service at St Mary's Church - Picture: Steve Flynn Media

The civic service at St Mary's Church - Picture: Steve Flynn Media

For their members they organise barbecues, trips to local events, quiz nights with fish and chips, and Christmas and New Year’s parties.

Looking at their programme of events for the coming year it certainly looks like they will be offering lots for their members to take part in, which is so important as this, like lots of groups, helps to breakdown social exclusion and looks after people’s mental wellbeing.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with the groups and if you would like to find out more about them I know they would welcome meeting you at the drop-in sessions.

My next engagement of the week was to attend the official opening of the Samuel Wickens Centre in Rustington. The centre will include the Rustington Museum and Information Centre, while also offering a wonderful space for events too.

Billy Blanchard-Cooper with the Wick St Barnabas shop staff on Star Wars Day

Billy Blanchard-Cooper with the Wick St Barnabas shop staff on Star Wars Day

The centre is located in the Broadmark Lane car park at the rear of the Waitrose store and was officially opened by Roger Wickens of Store Property Investments Limited. It is named after Samuel Wickens who designed the layout of the Rustington village parade of shops as we see it today.

The centre is light, airy and slick, and even includes an outside space.

Jamie Bennett, Rustington Parish Council chairman, said: “This new modern centre is more evidence that Rustington is a progressive village and is constantly looking at ways to improve facilities for our residents. I hope everyone will enjoy this new venue and we look forward to the new museum opening later in the year.”

Being a self-confessed Trekkie, it was with trepidation that on Friday I walked to Wick to join with store manager Michelle and the team at the St Barnabas shop who were promoting their amazing selection of Star Wars items and to celebrate ‘Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You’.

All the team had really got into the spirit by dressing up as characters from the films to promote their huge selection of merchandise and doing good for the charity. Well done to all involved.

On Saturday I couldn’t believe the difference in the weather from the start of the week and, making the most of it, I took a walk along our seafront and river simply enjoying our wonderful location which we should never take for granted how lucky we are.

I proceeded to take myself to the Littlehampton Town Show’s plant sale at the Guide Centre in Duke Street.

With lots of plants to choose from and being the start of the bank holiday weekend it was an ideal opportunity for people to get their gardens looking their best.

The town show is undoubtedly one of the biggest community celebrations in the town’s calendar and I cannot wait to see what they have on offer this year on Saturday, September 8, at Rosemead Park.

I continued in to the town to explore the ever-popular artisan market. It was great to see it so busy with people enjoying the wonderful weather and the vast and varied stalls, even including one selling vegan cakes and biscuits.

I was also in attendance to judge the fancy dress, which was on the theme of comic book heroes and villains. It is great to see the artisan market has grown from strength to strength, and continues to provide the town with a colourful and varied shopping experience, with a chance to find unusual items that you wouldn’t find in your local shops.

On Sunday I was pleased to see so many people had taken up the invitation to attend the civic service at St Mary’s Church in celebration of our town.

As people arrived the Littlehampton Concert Band welcomed them playing a selection of music from their repertoire before the organ, being played by James Rushman, sounded to herald in the standards of local uniformed groups to the hymn Sing Hosanna.

With the Edwin James Festival Choir leading the hymns, national anthem and Sussex by the Sea, all in attendance joined in to sound simply joyous.

Father Roger of St Mary’s led the service and welcomed ministers and representatives of all churches of Littlehampton to each take a part showing us truly a town that works together.

My friend of many years now, Daniel Purchase, read the poem ‘Lend a hand’ and another friend of mine, Janet Webb, gave a reading from the holy Gospel according to St Matthew.

Prayers were led to give thanks to the groups, societies, businesses, individuals and volunteers who work so hard to make our town a special place.

It was wonderful to see so many groups from our town represented as well as dignitaries from neighbouring towns and parishes coming to join in with our celebrations.

I was also delighted to welcome the new High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls, who was encouraged to see so many groups coming together to join in the celebration of the town.

I would like to thank everyone who attended, took part and supported this service and hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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