1996: Sports success, protests, maypoles and a very old well

Young campaigners were up in arms after developers moved in to demolish woods at North Heath Copse in 1996
Young campaigners were up in arms after developers moved in to demolish woods at North Heath Copse in 1996

Anyone driving along Pondtail Road in May 1996 may have found themselves face to face with a bunch of very young protesters.

This group of likely lads and lasses were furious that developers planned to bulldoze part of North Heath Copse to make way for a handful of houses.
To make matters worse, a report in the County Times described how the bulldozers were sent in three weeks early and demolished the children’s playing area.
So, armed with hand-drawn banners and petitions, the gang started flagging down passing cars and asking the drivers to support their protest.
The police, apparently, were not amused, and warned them to move on.
Elsewhere, maypoles appeared to be the order of the day.
At Plaistow Playgroup, the tots were practicing their maypole moves as part of the group’s 30th anniversary celebrations.
In Horsham, a maypole played a central role in the 46th Country Dance Festival, which brought together 20 schools from all over the district. Hopefully the sun shone for the big day.
It certainly didn’t when Rudgwick Primary held its summer fete – it was so wet, the event was moved indoors. Despite the last-minute change, £1,800 was raised for the school coffers.
Speaking of fundraising, girls from Farlington School trekked five miles to Warnham and back to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund.
The school had been rocked by the sudden death of their music teacher, Tracey Chadwell – an exceptionally gifted soprano – who succumbed to the disease in January 1996.
Over at Forest Row school, the boys of the Year 7 football team were celebrating a rather successful season. During their first year together they scooped two trophies – the Sussex Schools FA County Cup and the Mid Sussex Trophy.
Among the team were Carl Beard, Matthew Springer, Matthew Brabon, Michael Norris, Eric Barratt and Oliver Hoffman.
Cricket was the name of the game at Chesworth School, where the youngsters received coaching from Malcolm Carter, of Sussex County Cricket Club.
Two lads – Russell Davy and Matthew Simpson – also attended special coaching sessions at the Sussex cricket HQ in Hove, both receiving gold awards for their efforts.
And finally, workmen uncovered a 20ft deep piece of the town’s history during excavation work at the Alan Group, in Denne Parade – a well.
It was five feet wide and was one of many which dotted the town.
The two main ones were in Normandy and Park Street, while others were found at Agates in East Street and underneath Park House, in North Road.
Jeremy Knight, curator of Horsham Museum, told the County Times: “Horsham’s water supply in the 19th century was notorious for being foul. When people boiled it up a thick black film appeared on the top.
“More people died of cholera in Horsham per head of population than in Glasgow – that is how bad the water supply was.”
When the water companies were set up in the 1860s, the people of Horsham actively campaigned against them and it was not until the local board of health was established in the 1870s that the town was forced to have a water supply.

Forest Schools Year 7 football team won two trophies including the Sussex Schools FA County Cup in 1996

Forest Schools Year 7 football team won two trophies including the Sussex Schools FA County Cup in 1996

Chesworth School pupils receive coaching from cricket expert Malcolm Carter - Russell Davy and Matthew Simpson demonstrate what theyve learned

Chesworth School pupils receive coaching from cricket expert Malcolm Carter - Russell Davy and Matthew Simpson demonstrate what theyve learned

The children of Plaistow Playgroup prepare for the annual maypole fete in 1996

The children of Plaistow Playgroup prepare for the annual maypole fete in 1996

Rudgwick County Primary School held their 1996 fete indoors to escape the rain

Rudgwick County Primary School held their 1996 fete indoors to escape the rain

Children from Farlington School walked five miles to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund in 1996

Children from Farlington School walked five miles to raise money for the Leukaemia Research Fund in 1996

Children from St Marys School, Horsham, practicing for the 46th Country Dance Festival in Horsham Park in 1996

Children from St Marys School, Horsham, practicing for the 46th Country Dance Festival in Horsham Park in 1996

George Lee taking a look at the well that was uncovered in Denne Parade in 1996

George Lee taking a look at the well that was uncovered in Denne Parade in 1996