Mid Sussex Nostalgia: Dame Vera Lynn crowns Ditchling’s queen at 1982 village fair

Dame Vera Lynn crowns Paulien Mott
Dame Vera Lynn crowns Paulien Mott

The weather got better and better as the day went by and the crowds got bigger and bigger at the Ditchling Fair in the summer of 1982.

By mid-afternoon the village green was fully packed.

Fiddler Rosalind Bizby

Fiddler Rosalind Bizby

Dame Vera Lynn crowned the Queen of the Fair, 19-year-old Paulien Mott, in the morning when the skies were still a little threatening.

Dame Vera went on to exhort the crowds to spend their money due to the proceeds of the fair going to Ditchling charities.

Ditchling High Street was closed to traffic while Mr Jack Willcocks, chairman of the parish council, proclaimed the official opening of the fair from a balcony in the High Street.

Among the many attractions of the fair were a mummers play, a magician, Morris Dancers, maypole dancing, handbell ringing and tug-o-war.

Rosemary Tidmarsh and Pauline Wiggin in a Royal Baby fancy dress skirt

Rosemary Tidmarsh and Pauline Wiggin in a Royal Baby fancy dress skirt

As the afternoon grew warmer there was a procession of floats. The winning float was that of the Cub Scouts and Scouts, “Crests of the Wave, Ditchling Task Force”.

Tiggy Terrell won the best dressed bicycle contest. After a herculean struggle, the North Star pub was victorious in the tug-o-war and won back the nine gallon keg of beer that had been donated to the winning team.

Members of the Lewes rugby team doing a Morris dance

Members of the Lewes rugby team doing a Morris dance