St Laurence Flower Festival: Tomorrow, Saturday June 23rd sees the start of the next and biggest fund-raising event of the year for the parish church of St Laurence. The two-day Flower Festival with displays by village organisations and many other talented flower arrangers will be open from 10am – 5pm on Saturday and from 11am – 4.30pm on Sunday and admission is £2. This is always well worth more than one visit, as well as the displays in the church there will be plant and cake stalls and other items for sale, plus lunches and teas served throughout the two days so do try and keep the weekend free. Parish Communion will be at 9.15am on Sunday 24th as usual and there will be a Flower Festival Evensong at 5pm.
Catsfield’s Got Talent: This promises to be an evening with a difference hosted by the Catsfield Horticultural Society next Saturday 30th June at 7pm in the Village Hall. Contestants of all ages are welcome to enter with any form of entertainment - instrumental music, dance, song, poetry, jokes, magic tricks, gymnastics, juggling, the list is endless. A microphone, amplifier and keyboard will be available and a piano accompanist can be arranged if required. Tickets and entry forms are available from the Village Store, it’s free to enter but kindly return the completed forms as soon as possible please. There will be a first prize of £50 and the chance to perform at the evening event at the Summer Fete. Tickets cost £5 each and free for children, this will include the first drink and there will be a licensed bar, refreshments and a raffle.
Boat Race: The 3rd Catsfield Boat Race will be held on Sunday 8th July from 11am – 6pm. As usual the course will be around the triangle in the centre of the village and the roads will be closed from 11am-
This is always such an excellent event, with hand-built boats ‘raced’ through Catsfield Village. Lots of entertainment and commentaries during the races, followed by a Family Fun Day at the playing fields, with kids’ races, live music, BBQ, Ales/Beers, Pimms, teas, drummers, assault courses, archery, cakes, and loads more!
Catsfield Fete and Flower Show: Don’t panic, there’s still a few weeks to go until 4th August, but the Show schedules are in the Village Shop now, so grab one and begin planning all the classes you could enter while there’s plenty of time to take photos, paint pictures etc and get organised well in advance!
Celebrating ‘Sussex Day’: Last Saturday Sussex Harmony returned to Catsfield eighteen months after their previous visit, to celebrate ‘Sussex Day’ - so named because 16th June is St Richard’s Day, the patron saint of Sussex whose remains are interred at Chichester Cathedral. Led by their inspirational conductor Rachel Jordan, who also played the oboe, the choir sang and accompanied themselves with a variety of instruments through a full programme of one hundred and sixty-year-old church music. It originated in the 18th and 19th centuries and used to be sung in country churches and chapels to the accompaniment of a village band comprising fiddles, clarinets, oboes, flutes and the odd brass instrument. Therefore, most of the tunes are joyful folk melodies some of which have come from Catsfield’s own manuscripts now housed in the Archaeological Society’s vaults in Lewes.
Canon Kenneth H MacDermott was curate of Hurstpierpoint in the 19th century when he began his research into this music and he wrote to over 200 church choirmasters seeking information about church bands and their music. With the resultant information he was able publish a book entitled ’The Old Church Gallery Minstrels’. Amongst the documents he received were nine books from Catsfield, some from Miss Louisa Blackman (grand-daughter of a Robert Blackman) and some from a Mr TC Poulter, whose great-grandfather, a Mr Crouch, was a musician in the band. Between many of the pieces with tremendous feeling and enthusiasm, Rachel regaled the audience with the history of country church music and it was remarkable when she said that they were about to sing ‘The Magnifcat’ for not only the first time ever for the choir, but also for the first time that it had been heard in Catsfield, sung in this way for more than one hundred and fifty years. The audience were provided with books containing the words and music being performed and were encouraged to participate in many of the hymns and psalms, which were meant to be sung with great enthusiasm and they certainly were. It was a most interesting and enjoyable evening and the village looks forward to a return visit from Sussex Harmony when their busy schedule allows.
School Fete: Catsfield school fete on Saturday was a very popular occasion and although we await news of the profit made, from the point of view of participation and enjoyment it seemed one of the best ever. The usual events were well patronised, pony rides, tombolas, splat the rat, balloons in cars etc, also lots to eat and drink. Another popular, but very peculiar event, was throwing eggs over a rope to your partner and when caught you moved back a distance, was won by Julia (Philcox) and her husband Mark down from Coventry, where obviously they had been practising. The prize was a cinema ticket for 2, which was received with great delight. The immense grand draw was done at the end of the afternoon, which by the time we had all been buffeted by the cold wind, came just in time for some of the grandparents. What is it about the coconut shy which makes all the boys try so hard to win something which apparently nobody likes? Wait for the summer fete to find out. Well done to all the PTA, parents, teachers, governors, children and ex-pupils.
Sport: Another day of buffeting wind, saw Catsfield play cricket against Brightling Park at home, when with the dark skies, it was more like December. Brightling Park batted first and amassed 182 for 8 at tea, with Tom Bristow-Diamond finishing with figures of 4 for 23. He couldn’t help remarking he also had three dropped catches. After a good tea and in the growing darkness Martin Gurr scored the winning run with a four, with David Taylor setting the tone with 26 and Captain Derek Fuller reaching 84 not out. Most of the wives stayed frozen to their seats until just after 7pm. Even one of the wives on walking round the ground tripped in one of the many rabbit holes and fell injuring her knee, but still stuck it out to the end of play.
Sunday, of course, England play an important world cup game at 1pm, so the men have worked out our match away against Crowhurst can start at 3.30pm and with limited overs, the game can be finished by the usual time, when no doubt there will be another world cup game to fit in when they get home. Of course, the women realise they are vital to village sport, washing kit, mopping brows and doing the teas, we are so lucky.