Spectacular fly past during Littlehampton Armed Forces Day

Over the course of a mayor’s year you get to meet and work with a lot of different people within the community, and during last year I had the pleasure of making an acquaintance of Father Roger Caswell, from St Mary’s Church, while he was assisting with the organisation of my civic service for which he was very supportive and I owe him much thanks.

He had made me aware at the time that he was due to retire from this role having served the parish for 28 years, with his last duties to perform the Drumhead service at Armed Forces Day.

Billy with the Band of the Grenadier Guards Picture: Shaun Roster

Billy with the Band of the Grenadier Guards Picture: Shaun Roster

I was pleased to join the congregation at the church on Monday evening for a Mass of Thanksgiving for the 40th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. It was lovely to see such a full church gathering to thank him for all he has done in the parish and the support he has shown to others.

Following the service it was lovely to talk with some of the congregation who shared their personal memories of him, both as a minister and friend.

I wish him well and hope he enjoys retirement and thank him on behalf of the town for all that he has done during his time here.

During the week I, like many of you I’m sure, did my best to keep cool while still enjoying the heatwave and come Friday I joined River Beach Primary School for its Summer Fayre.

There was certainly lots to do including face painting, stalls, tombolas, raffle, hook-a-duck, dance performances and the Allstars Cheerleaders. There was even a mascot race between Sandy Sandcastle from Harbour Park, R B Bear from River Beach and of course Hampton the Hedgehog who now lives with the Edwin James Festival Choir. The day was lots of fun and I’m sure they will have raised lots of money too.

The following day I started at the Manor House in Church Street, joining veterans and uniformed cadets and organisations to take part in the parade to the seafront for Armed Forces Day which we were honoured to be led by the band of the Grenadier Guards.

With the sun shining over the proceedings of the day the crowds were in for a treat with a packed programme of events as well as stalls and displays.

The Drumhead service, as mentioned earlier, saw Father Roger perform for the last time for our town and the spectacle of the guards alongside our own massed bands drew a large crowd.

We continued to be spoiled with a magnificent YAK-52 aerial display over the sea with commentary, which incorporated some very exciting stunts, and the Imps motorbike display team certainly enthralled audiences with wondrous skilled tricks, and various other re-enactments and entertainments throughout the day.

Praise must go to Becky and Kieran of the events team and the rest of the team at the Littlehampton Town Council who have all been working incredibly hard to ensure the day was a success.

The day drew to a close with a spectacular Spitfire fly past before the Sunset Service. Thank you to everyone involved with the day and I hope this is a day that will stick in people’s memories for a long time.

My last engagement of the week found me out of the town, but not too far away, in Arundel for the service of prayer and dedication for mayor of Arundel Lucy Ashworth and the town council.

The service, which took place at the parish and priory church of St Nicholas, Arundel, was filled with residents including school children, Guides and Scouts who all took part in the service.

The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk were in attendance along with other visiting dignitaries to support councillor Ashworth as she commences her year in office. During the service the collection was made for her chosen charities, including the Sussex Snowdrop Trust which provides vital nursing care at home for local children who have a life threatening or terminal illness.

It was lovely after to talk with councillor Ashworth and hear of her enthusiasm for Arundel and her plans for the future, and I wish her every success for the year ahead.

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Littlehampton Armed Forces Day 2018 in pictures

Action from the Littlehampton Armed Forces Day parade

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