30 years ago

From the West Sussex County Times, dated Friday July 23, 1982

Horsham officially twinned with the French town of Saint-Maixent L’Ecole in an open air ceremony. In front of a small crowd in the Causeway, the twinning charter was signed on behalf of the residents of Horsham by the chairman of the district council, David Keen, and by the mayor of Saint-Maixent, Camille Lemberton, on behalf of his townspeople. Each spoke in his own language and the speeches were then translated by interpreters for the benefit of members of both nationalities in the crowd. Mr Keen spoke of the twinning as ‘a major achievement for the people of Horsham and Saint-Maixent’ and M Lemberton likened it to a marriage. Commenting on the like size of the two towns, he said: “To make a wedding, both the bride and the bridegroom have to suit each other. You don’t often find a giant marrying a dwarf!” After the speeches the charter was signed by both parties and then the ‘marriage’ was sealed with a kiss – or rather two, one on each cheek.

Hot on the heels of its official twinning with the town of Saint-Maixent L’Ecole, Horsham established ‘The French Connection’ in its festival at the weekend with a riot of can-can girls, Concordes and channel tunnels. Never before have so many floats faithfully followed the festival theme and organisations, in designing their floats, chose the interpret ‘The French Connection’ in all manner of ways – from recreating the atmosphere of the Moulin Rouge to depicting the Mach I plus world of Concorde. And there were plenty of visitors from France about to help cement the entente cordiale. The festival still advertises itself as a two-day event, but as years have gone by and it has grown bigger and better it has extended over weeks rather than just a weekend. This year’s festival began back on July 7 with the senior school sports and in the park it was launched with a fairground service on July 11, conducted by the Rev David Richardson, of Brighton Road Baptist Church, with the bumper car circuit as his ‘church’. On the same day a new event, the festival relay fun run got off to a flying start and proved so popular that it’s bound to become a regular event in the Horsham Festival calendar.

The parish council of tiny Bramber expressed concern about the mounting untidiness of The Street, the ancient village’s ‘conservation area’. Because of this they have not been able to enter for the Best Kept Village competition. District councillor Len Sanford was requested to ask Horsham District Council to say which authority is responsible for keeping the public highway clean. Geoffrey Fox said: “Soil is piling up everywhere in the village. In total it must amount to tons.” But to get the ‘tons’ together it must first be swept up. Meanwhile, it chokes the road drainage gullies. To the west, in the long parish of Sullington, villagers have another silting problem. This affects tenants of Horsham District Council’s houses on one side of the Warren Hamlet estate. In rainy weather, a land drainage ditch between the housing estate and the recreation ground-in-the-making often overflows into the back gardens of the council houses. For several years the district council has had cash earmarked to clear the ditch from end to end. But the council’s housing committee does not want to spend it because there are plans to re-develop the housing estate.