May fair stirs happy memories

West Chiltington School's May King and Queen
West Chiltington School's May King and Queen

West Chiltington School was awash with colour on Saturday May 11, as children greeted and crowned their May King and Queen before taking part in traditional May Pole and country dancing at their annual May Fair.

It was a particularly nostalgic time for one West Chiltington family as Nathan Willmer (nine) was crowned May King twenty-three years after his mother Nicky Steele was the first ever West Chiltington School May Queen. “My mum was amazed when I told her I was going to be King!” said Nathan. Nicky remembers arriving onto the school field in a pony and trap in 1990 with her King, James Steele. “The horse carted us around the village before the opening of the fair and I also remember there were lots of sheep on the school field for some reason!”

Coincidentally Nathan’s aunt Bethany Willmer was also May Queen in 2007 and returned to school to support her nephew this year. “I remember being in the County Times when I was queen too.” said Bethany (16).

Nathan’s Queen was Emily Harrison (nine) and both children were greeted by a horseshoe tunnel of brightly coloured staffs carried by the rest of the pupils. Their crown bearers were two of the youngest members of the school, Conrad Barker (5) and Marina Fresson-Sierra (five) from Reception class.

“This has been the best day of my life,” was Finlay’s (five) verdict talking to headmaster Julian Rose. Mr Rose added: “If you want to know how successful a school event is, ask the youngest children. They will always give you the most honest and heartfelt responses.”

“The fact that the rain fell with the first beats of the May dance did nothing to quell the spirits of the children. This was undoubtedly their day - and no forecast was going to put them off performing their dances and drumming displays. They were rewarded with the warmth of response from family and community members who turned out in force to make the event a resounding success.”

All of the teachers were there to support the children in their performances and in their entrepreneurial efforts as they ran their own stalls and made the announcements. Parent Mandy Webb commented: “I would love to say that this year’s series of the Apprentice is one of the best, but Blue Class outshone them with their business skills at the May fair,” their cupcake stall even had sponsorship from local Sussex organic chocolate makers, Cocoa Loco.The bouncy castles were sponsored by Wall Brothers Ltd (Carpets & Rugs). Local businesses and supporters’ generosity must be congratulated especially in the current economic environment.

The community working together makes these events happen. The strong partnership between staff, governors and parents, teachers and pupils, and local business’ backing comes together in fundraising through FOSA, the Friends of School Association. The chairman Sarah Rose, also thanked staff, businesses and everyone involved, after months of preparation and hard work. Sarah said: “My own daughter Amelia told me that she had a great day and lots of fun, which at the end of the day is one of the reasons we do these events, to raise money AND to make sure that the children have a lovely time. Just like Nathan, I am sure that there are many more children who have created happy memories today, to take on with them in life.”