Tributes paid to the ‘queen’ of Littlehampton Carnival: ‘She was one in a million’

Friends of the woman behind one of Littlehampton’s most loved events have paid tribute to her following her death.

Freda Hughes, president of the Littlehampton Carnival Committee, passed away aged 75 on February 17.

Freda Hughes with Stavros Flatley from Britain's Got Talent SUS-160311-155104003

Freda Hughes with Stavros Flatley from Britain's Got Talent SUS-160311-155104003

In 1973, she resurrected the carnival and it soon grew into a highlight of the town calendar, with more than 40 floats in the procession at its peak and raising tens of thousands of pounds for youth groups. It marked its 40th anniversary in 2014 before ending in 2017.

Her son Justin said: “She was one in a million. When they made her they broke the mold.”

Mark Butler worked with Freda while carnival chairman in the 90s. He credited her with instilling a love for our town in the committee – an ethos that drove him on later as a councillor. He said: “She reminded us what a great place Littlehampton was to live in.”

Lynn Martin joined the carnival to make friends – but Freda was so persuasive she left her first meeting with a job on the committee and worked with her for 30 years: not just on the committee but also as medical receptionists for a while. Lynn said: “She had a heart of gold; she would do anything for anybody.”

Littlehampton carnival 2015. Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society. Photo by Derek Martin

Littlehampton carnival 2015. Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society. Photo by Derek Martin

In its heyday, Lynn recalled going to Freda’s house in East Street at 5.30am on carnival day to make the team breakfasts before it began, and staying up into the early hours to count the proceeds.

A formidable organiser, Lynn said one of Freda’s big achievements was getting Britain’s Got Talent stars Stavros Flatley to perform at a carnival fundraiser.

Tyndall Jones from David O. Jones Sports described her as a ‘very true and loyal friend’, adding: “Freda brought more than 40 years of fun to the town every summer, and that will be her legacy.”

Freda leaves her husband Anthony, Justin, four grandsons and six great-grandchildren. Her funeral is at 3pm on March 16 at Worthing Crematorium. No flowers, but donations to the RSPB welcome.

Littlehampton Carnival Queen and princesses for 2016 revealed. L to R  Hannah Unsted 14, Lucie Feltham and The Carnival Queen Eve Edwards, and  Jess Smith 14, Photo by Derek Martin

Littlehampton Carnival Queen and princesses for 2016 revealed. L to R Hannah Unsted 14, Lucie Feltham and The Carnival Queen Eve Edwards, and Jess Smith 14, Photo by Derek Martin