1973 – the year of boxing, bouncing and a council’s end


Punters at Rusper’s Royal Oak pub probably thought they had had one too many when they stumbled across a somewhat odd sight in June 1973.

A group of suspiciously hairy and well-muscled ‘ladies’ were competing in a space hopper race.



For those of you too young to have been caught up in the space hopper craze, they were large orange balls with two rubber handles – or horns – on the top and an extremely creepy looking face scrawled on the front.

While they were perfect for children, adults looked decidedly silly when they attempted to go for a bounce – as our picture proves!

The report in the West Sussex County Times said the hoppers in question were members of “Rusper’s most nefarious ‘ladies’ pub team” and the race marked “the start of a new silly season”.

The Royal Oak team dubbed themselves Paul’s Pansies and bragged they would challenge anyone to anything. The relay race of 1973 saw them take on “an instant team of mottlies” led by company director David Quick.



The Pansies were: Nick Gardner, Phillip Gaze, Philip Aumonier, Mike Braddon and Barrie England.

While the ‘ladies’ made short work of the ‘mottlies’, they found themselves out-hopped by a group of wives – who proved that, when it comes down to it, you can’t beat the real thing.

While the Royal Oak was enjoying silly season, the children of Rusper Junior School were learning about the very serious business of elections.

The local elections were held on Thursday June 7 1973 and Horsham finished the day with 23 Independent councillors, 18 Conservative and two Liberals.



Rusper’s headmaster, Mr CRM Andrews, decided the youngsters needed to find out what all the fuss had been about – so they held their own elections, complete with a ballot box, polling booth, presiding officer and polling clerk.

The candidates were chosen, nomination papers drawn up, posters designed and election addresses written and delivered.

Does anyone know who won and whether they were bitten by the political bug in adult life?

In the world of grown-up politics, councillors and officers from Horsham Urban Council were photographed for probably the last time as they prepared to become Horsham District Council.

The group is pictured at a reception thrown by chairman Frederick Lane. The following April, the council merged with the Chanctonbury and Horsham rural districts. In the centre of the picture is vicar of Horsham Canon Peter Gillingham. Mr Lane is on his left.

Our final picture shows two young boxers competing in a tournament at Storrington Youth Club.

The boy taking one on the chin was Glen Mayes and his opponent was G Robinson, who went on to win on points.

Another fighter was Steyning Grammar School pupil Keith Brassington, who had won the Sussex schoolboy championship and reached the last four of the national ABA junior championship. But Keith met his match in a lad called Barry Dent.

Did any of these young boxers go on to fight professionally?

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