Nothing could stop St Lawrence Fair in 1984! But who was Bixie?

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It takes a lot to ruffle the organisers of the St Lawrence Fair, in Hurstpierpoint.

Take 1984, for example. They had a lack of helpers, the weather looked a bit choppy and people were ‘umming and ahhing’ over whether or not to watch the Summer Olympics on the telly, but did that stop them? It did not!

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An article in the Mid Sussex Times reported thousands of people lining the streets as the Haywards Heath Band led a procession through the village to the South Avenue recreation ground.

The Fair Princess was nine-year-old Jenny Nightingale, who was attended by Tamsin Waller and Michelle Legg, both seven.

They were driven to the recreation ground in a red, open-top BMW by estate agent Andrew Pridell.

Rod Ross, chairman of the organising committee, told the Middy: “Early in the year I thought the whole thing was going to fold up through lack of helpers. It would have been a great pity because the history of the event in some form or other can be traced back to the early 14th century.

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“We got our first charter from Edward II.”

Volunteers soon came forward, though, and the fair went ahead, with an Olympic theme for the procession.

Mary Ann Bowden, for example, came second in the fancy dress for girls aged 6-12, dressed as the Olympic torch; while the ladies of Wolstonbury WI won the Boakes Cup for their depiction of ice dance aces Torvill and Dean.

Robin Dann, dressed as a gold medal, won first prize in the category for boys aged 2-5, while Peter Bowden came third as an Olympic boxer.

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There were some decidedly odd entrants as well, who proved the people of Hurstpierpoint have some amazing imaginations.

Kerry Marsh, Gemma Doyle and Anna Doyle dressed as Oxo cubes, Ben Ayling was a Rubik’s cube, and Liam Cornford went as a pea pod.

A couple of costumes have left some of today’s young whipper-snappers at the Middy confused.

They were Madeleine Healey, who was dressed as Bixie, and Kate Richard, who was dressed as Mrs Shilling.

Can anyone remember who Bixie and Mrs Shilling were?

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