West Chiltington Village Show: Remembering Norman Widsom’s visit as event turns 100

Norman Wisdom at the West Chiltington Show in 1959
Norman Wisdom at the West Chiltington Show in 1959

A village is set to celebrate a special and nostalgic event this summer as its annual show returns for a 100th year.

Started in 1919 as part of the First World War peace celebrations, the West Chiltington Village Show was inspired by the enthusiasm of the Reverend Andrew Caldecott and soon became a popular feature in the village calendar.

The 1923 West Chiltington village show

The 1923 West Chiltington village show

This year it will be returning to its roots with the Reverend David Coleman, Rector of St Mary’s Church, opening the show on Saturday July 13.

Nick Vincent, said: “The show is run by the community for community, bringing local residents and neighbours together for a fun afternoon.

“Over the years, the show has raised funds for the village, to support local clubs and to improve and maintain facilities and important historical artefacts.

“Perhaps our most famous resident, Norman Wisdom, attended the event in 1959 and helped fund raising by selling his autograph!”

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This year’s show will open from 1.30pm until 5pm, with refreshments of all types available throughout the afternoon and a barbecue finishing the show in the early evening.

Organisers will be blending tradition and the contemporary to celebrate ten decades from the very first show in 1919.

“However, times move on and customs change so we will not be hosting some early favourites including the Bun and Whistle Race (competitive bun eating for ladies), the Thread-Needle Race for girls under 15 or the Cigarette Race (the first to finish their cigarette was the winner),” said Nick.

This year’s major entertainment includes Tom Foolery, Ladies that Boogie, Flipitas, Owls About Town, The West Chiltington Silver Band who will play music throughout the afternoon, and the ever popular dog show.

“As part of The Horsham District Year of Culture, ‘Arbour the Tree’ will also be making a journey to the show.

Outside the main area there will be lots of activities for children and adults alike, and there will be a variety of stalls supplying delicious local food, high quality crafts and bric-a-brac.

Sport will be there and community stalls will be on hand to help answer your questions.

Nick added: “Competitions have always been at the heart of our show, so if you sow and grow; make and bake or have an artistic flair then why not enter one of our adult competitions.

“Children and young adults were the focus of the 1919 show and remain so to this day.

“We love to encourage the younger ones, so we have special competitions just for them.

“Help them use their imagination and explore their creativity through the competitions designed with their talents in mind - full details on www.westchiltshow.org

“The tombola is a show favourite; the grand raffle has some exceptional prizes and will be drawn towards the end of the show in front of the Pavilion.”

Entry to the show is free.

If you would like to know more about the show and its history, download a stall or competition entry form, or keep up to date with this year’s show development at www.westchiltshow.org

To enter a competition, email Pat on pathampton@hotmail.com; to become a stallholder email Diane on familysmith1989@btinternet.com or to become a volunteer, email Jackie on jackietpicton@gmail.com

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