1974 – the year of elephants, snails and a village idiot (briefly)

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1974 was a particularly good year. If it was a wine it would be a pallet-teasing Chardonnay in a cut crystal glass. 
It was the year Abba made their name at the European Song Contest, New Year’s Day was made a bank holiday for the first time, and Man Utd were relegated from Division One.

In Mid Sussex, things were equally as exciting.

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These pictures were published in the Mid Sussex Times ‘best of the year’ review in January 1975.

Best sportsman went to Ivan Mayne from Burgess Hill who, with his driving partner Jim Shrubb, was crowned 1974 South East Area sidecar champion.

Non-event of the year went to the Village Idiot contest at the Crown, Horsted Keynes. Obed Maynard was elected outright winner for his ‘idiotic doings’ but resigned the title immediately, giving it to his son, Tony. Tony received a congratulatory kiss from singer Marion Montgomery, who judged the contest.

Not quite the winner of the year was Mid Sussex Labour candidate Margaret Fraser, who won the hearts of many when she used an elephant on the campaign trail. As you do...

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Fight of the year went to Ditchling residents who fought tooth and nail to ban juggernauts from the streets of their village – and succeeded.

Foul of the year was committed against Haywards Heath player Jimmy Knox during a match against Three Bridges. He had some consolation for such treatment – Haywards Heath won 2-1.

Monster of the year was Fred the snail. Measuring five inches long and weighing eight ounces, Fred somehow got from Brighton to Haywards Heath and was found by Peter Morris, aged 8. He was featured in the national press, on television, in the Guinness Book of Records and then passed on.

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