VIDEO: Fun at Steyning kids’ parade and past pupils enjoy school reunion

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A colourful children’s parade started the Steyning Festival with a bang on Saturday.

Giant animals joined the parade through the streets of the town, watched by a large crowd of well-wishers.

JPCT 240514 S14220814x Steyning festival. Children's parade -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140527-093003001

JPCT 240514 S14220814x Steyning festival. Children's parade -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140527-093003001

Festival chairman Christine Aubrey said: “The children’s parade was a riot of sound and colour. It certainly launched Steyning’s festival in style – and with a bang. No-one could have missed it. The samba band and drums were amazing.

“The children and giant animal costumes were the real stars. All those weeks of craftwork in local schools paid off. It was heart-warming seeing so many happy young faces and thankfully the sun came out just in time.”

Although the rain held off for the parade, it fell almost continuously on Monday for the community fun day and picnic on Memorial Play Field.

Fun day organiser Rob Billlington said they managed to make the best of it, including musical performances and a dog show.

JPCT 240514 S14220782x Steyning festival. Children's parade -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140527-092635001

JPCT 240514 S14220782x Steyning festival. Children's parade -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140527-092635001

He added: “The wet weather on Bank Holiday Monday may have kept some people away, but those who came certainly made the best of it and had a good time.

“Highlights were the St Cuthman Wheelbarrow Race, with lots of children taking part, the Fun Dog Show (a bit of rain certainly doesn’t stop dog walkers) supported by Palace of Pooch, and the brilliant bands performing from a fabulous, shiny airstream stage.

“And the sports clubs just got stuck in, too. Good old British spirit meant we just carried on regardless.”

The onsite catering, face painting team, zorb arena and bouncy castle kept going all day as well.

Other highlights of the weekend included the Comedy Store Players event at Steyning Grammar School with Josie Lawrence, which was sold out.

Festival publicity officer Jerry Doyle said: “It was a fantastically funny event, so it was a hit for opening night of the festival.”

James Naughtie’s book launch at the Steyning Centre in the afternoon was also a packed house.

Former pupils from far and wide returned to Steyning Grammar School for a 400th anniversary reunion.

The doors of the Church Street site were thrown open on Saturday and a steady stream of visitors arrived, some from as far as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

They had the rare opportunity to actually step through the door of Chatfields, the oldest part of the school, through a door that is usually kept firmly locked.

Head Nick Wergan, who was there to greet the visitors, said it had been both moving and enjoyable.

“Current staff and students have shown great pride in showcasing their school, and for former students the reunion has clearly been an emotional and rewarding one,” he said.

“It is a fantastic testimony of what makes our school so special.”

Among the crowd was 82-year-old Christopher Passmore, who was a boarder at the school from the age of nine.

He looked around the exhibition in Chatfields, now one big room, and remembered when it had two floors, with a dormitory for the boys and a room for the master on the first floor and a common room on the ground floor.

Archive material spanning the school’s history was on display and one woman was delighted to find a copy of a school programme she had personally created.

There were three DVDs to view, celebrating student life at the school, and the chance to see the five panels of the Heritage Quilt.

Volunteer Angela Miller said: “The two children’s panels are very eye-catching and people have been impressed by the level of detail in the other panels.

“There was a constant stream of people, who have shown a great deal of interest in the quilt.”

A new watercolour by former teacher Patricia Hall was on sale at £20, with £5 going to the drama hall fund.

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