1984: the good old days when clowns were friendly!

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Do you remember the good old days when clowns were daft, silly, funny and – at worst – a little bit creepy?

Their faces were colourful and occasionally sad, not frightening or deformed into an evil sneer, and they rarely jumped out on people while wielding scary looking weapons.

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If they did, said weapons were no more harmful than a flower that squirted water or a pop-gun that fired a seemingly endless stream of hankies.

Take Sarah Thurgood, for example.

In 1984, she and dozens of other children, were made up as clowns at the Leyden House summer fete, in Chailey. Sarah was 14 when Jean Piercey, from Good Company, gave her a circus-like look, which was not in the least bit frightening.

A report in the Middy said the Good Company sideshow was one of the most popular stalls on the day, with youngsters trying to recognise each other from beneath red noses, colourful wigs and layers of face paint.

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Also at the fete was the Riverside jazz band, made up of John Florence, Doug Whitfield, 16-year-old David Faulkner, and Doreen Whitfield.

As with all good fetes, revellers were given the opportunity to hurl a wet sponge at some one’s face.

The ‘volunteer’ this year was Tom Harrison, who was retiring as chairman of Leyden House, but taking up the office of honorary president.

The chairman’s post was to be filled by Dr Michael Strode, who opened Leyden House in 1970 as a weekend home for children with special needs.

The fete raised £2,000, which went towards repainting the house and providing a new roof for an extension.

In addition, Good Company handed over a cheque for £600, which was used to buy a mini tractor, for grass cutting.

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