October funfair saved and bigger list of 2012 town events unveiled

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CHILDREN at Leechpool Primary School are amongst hundreds district-wide this week delighted to learn the Horsham town centre October funfair has been saved.

Following the uproar that erupted in November when the County Times revealed the traditional funfair’s existence had been threatened, youngsters from the Horsham school wrote to the County Times as well as the council to register their upset.

But after the new and improved Horsham Time Well Spent 2012 town centre events programme was launched last Thursday, Roger Paterson (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) the cabinet member for the local economy told the County Times: “We have the fair coming very firmly back to Hallowe’en Time, with the fair operator and the market all working together in the town.”

Mr Paterson added how he looked forward to meeting the children and sharing the good news with them in person.

This year’s bigger events programme boasts old family favourites, such as the Big Nibble and Piazza Italia - now ‘the most popular Easter event in the South East’ - as well as brand new spectacles for 2012, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Jamboree Tea Party on Monday June 4, and a new Caribbean Party and Carnival at Sparks in the Park on July 15 to celebrate the Olympics.

However, there have also been casualties with Horsham’s annual French Fest not happening for the first time in five years.

Mr Paterson said: “We are already adding to the events, and unfortunately we have had to limit them simply in terms of capacity – we can’t do more than that at the moment.

“But we are delighted with the way the events programme has built up and the one that really thrills me is the music event which was put in at short order last year, the Festival of Sound.”

This year, as part of Horsham Live, music lovers will be able to enjoy five stages of bands and entertainment in the town centre in September.

Music also takes centre stage in June when the Queen’s Jubilee will be celebrated over an extended bank holiday weekend.

Horsham visitors will be able go back in time and experience music from eras gone by, with the Carfax hosting vintage tunes from the 50s and 60s; the 70s and 80s will resound around the Bishopric Shelley Fountain and the sounds of the 90s and into the new millennium will form the atmosphere on The Forum.

Town centre manager Garry Mortimer-Cook said that after the success of the tea party to celebrate Wakefield’s 100th birthday in 2011 they saw potential of revisiting the theme.

Other events announced include the Ringway Charity Pancake Races and Mascots Egg and Spoon race on February 16, Microbiz in March, and the Pudsey and Pals visit in November for Children in Need.

Many local partners and organisations, such as the Rotary Club of Horsham, are involved in running, organising and funding the events. Gill Buchanan, Swan Walk manager and chairman of Horsham Unlimited said that ‘by working together it will make them and the town stronger’.

Jonathan Chowen, cabinet member for Arts, Heritage and Leisure, said: “I hope residents and visitors alike take part in the varied activities that are being put on by Horsham District Council, local partners and organisations and help celebrate important occasions such as the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.”

Mr Paterson added: “The exciting events organised for the coming year are a great way for residents and visitors to get involved in the district’s activities, as well as helping to support our local economy.

“It is so encouraging to see how much is on offer for 2012 and I personally greatly look forward to joining in with lots of the events taking place over the next 12 months.”

He added that in these gloomy times the council wanted to see the town grow.

“We want to invest in Horsham and give people the visitor experience that will make them come back again and again.”

The money for the Horsham Time Well Spent events comes from HDC’s £1.5 million Leisure and Economic Development budget, as well as partner organisations Horsham Unlimited, the town centre business partnership, and other local partners and sponsors.

For a full list of the events planned for 2012 and for more information, visit www.horshamunlimited.co.uk from Wednesday February 1 or follow on Twitter at @HorshamTWS.