Drinking beer and raising money for autistic children in 1983


Many feats of daring do have been conceived in pubs – though not all ended as well as the Superstars contest of 1983.

The contest was the fourth of its kind organised by the Chequers Inn pub, in Rowhook, and saw 40 gallant men and women giving their all to raise money for a school for autistic children.



There were 10 events on offer and the fantastic 40 had to compete in eight of them.

There were old familiars like weight lifting, swimming and basket ball, as well as dips, squat thrusts and bench jumps. Then there was a 30ft pole to climb, an obstacle course, bottle walking – an old pub game which tests strength and balance.

And finally, there was the beer drinking round. Well, it was organised by a pub!

Any of the contestants who opted not to take part in the swimming because they didn’t want to get wet were out of luck – because it rained. Boy, did it rain.



The gang and their supporters met at 9.30am where last-minute bets were placed with ‘Honest Phil’ Aumonier – who ensured all proceeds, including lost bets, went to the Dedisham School for Autistic Children, in Slinfold.

Chequers Inn landlord Paul Barrs was the favourite among the men, with odds of 3-1. He had won the title for the past two years so looked a safe bet for any punters who fancied an easy few quid.

Sonya Pelling was the favourite among the women. She had also won for the past two years, though her odds of evens – if that makes sense – were less attractive than Paul’s.

But that made no difference to super Sonya, who was crowned champion of the ladies for the third time. Paul could only manage fourth place, proving once and for all that girls are better than boys.

Lynne Pontet and Jean Lawrence came equal second in the women’s contest and settled the matter as expected in a pub - with a drinking race. The tipple in question was only half a pint of water which Jean downed the quickest, leaving Lynne with the ‘best effort’ trophy.

As for the men, the winner was 10-1 shot Mike Read, with Andy Kent coming second and Rex Parnell coming third.

Around £100 was raised for Dedisham School and Paul - perhaps determined to reclaim his title - said the contest would be played out again in 1984.

Did you take part in any of the Superstars contest at the Chequers Inn?

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