Where there’s a crisis, there are always heroes


Sadly, there is always a crisis ongoing somewhere in the world – and there are always good people who will do all they can to make life easier for those who are suffering.

In 1983, the residents of Colmer Court and Marlborough Court teamed up to collect clothes to send to people in Poland, who were enduring the tail end of martial law.

The Rev John Wildrianne, co-pastor of Burgess Hill Pentecostal Church, was in the process of organising a mercy mission to Poland when he was presented with more than 26 bags of clothes from the generous residents.

A report in the Mid Sussex Times said: “Children from Oakmeeds School helped Colmer Court residents Miss Maude Yorke and Mr Reginald Smith carry the goods from the court.

“Mr Wildrianne and fellow Pentecostal pastors have collected thousands of pounds worth of food, clothes and medicine to help ease the plight of the Polish people.

“The church has made many trips to Eastern Europe, often in uncomfortable conditions, to make sure the goods get to their destination.”

Elsewhere, future Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames was making his second attempt to become an MP.

The 35-year-old had fought and lost the Central Dumbartonshire constituency in 1979 but was successful in his challenge for the new Crawley constituency in 1983. He stayed in Crawley until 1997 when Mid Sussex beckoned – and he’s been here ever since!

The spring of 1983 was particularly damp and prompted the introduction of ‘lamb macs’ to keep the lambs of Mid Sussex warm and dry-ish.

According to a report at the time, the risk of hypothermia was particularly high that year and the rain had waterlogged so many fields there was much less grass for the lambs to eat.

The macs were designed to help protect the little creatures from the weather and prevent them losing weight.

Over in the sporting world, a legendary rugby union star turned out for Haywards Heath in a memorial game dedicated to Heath’s secretary John Bowker.

His name was JPR Williams and he was a Welsh international fullback with amazing sideburns, who dominated during Wales’ Golden Era in the 1970s – usually with his socks around his ankles.

A report in the Mid Sussex Times said old JPR wasn’t the only star in the line-up. Ian George, of the London Welsh, was there, as was Welsh B International Bob Phillips. British Lion Maurice Colclough was also scheduled to join the line up but was injured.

All the money from the match was to go to the St Catherine’s Hospice Project.

The hospice was preparing to open in Crawley that autumn and was a project of which John Bowker was “a fervent supporter”.

Does anyone know who won the match?

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