DownsFest was the mini-Glasto in Adastra Park, Hassocks

downsfest-hassocks.png

September saw the inaugural DownsFest music event take over Adastra Park for one day only. Although originally a suggestion from Jo Ganpatsingh, the reality of making DownsFest happen came down to Hassocks resident Michelle Binks, who tells us how she is feeling now it’s all packed away…


Michelle-Binks-Downsfest.jpg

To say getting DownsFest off the ground has been a stressful experience would be an understatement! However, my knight in shining armour was Kelly Foley, who I’m forever grateful to for coming to my aid. Kelly was my rock, my social media champion and became my right hand man! And how can I miss out Jo, the maddest friend I’ll ever have; all I have to say to you is ‘cheese and banjo’! Love you both to the moon and back.

One thing that I love about my community is all the help and assistance from so many that have enabled me to put the festival together: Graphic Design (Su Watts), Web Design (Alex Simmons), Burgess Hill Community Radio (Steve Bird), all the volunteers and many more. And I thank my family for their support throughout this huge adventure.

Three months later, DownsFest 2019 was live!

[Full article printed in Hassocks Life magazine, October 2019]

Remembrance Sunday in Hassocks

By Rev Alex Baxter, Rector of the Parish of Clayton with Keymer

War Memorial in Hassocks

War Memorial in Hassocks

This year for Remembrance Sunday, on 10th November 2019, things will be a little different.

As many of you may know, or may have heard, the Hassocks Branch of The Royal British Legion has closed which is a sad loss to our community. The premises are continuing to operate on a private basis. Unfortunately this means it is not possible to have an official Remembrance Sunday Parade as we have known it in the past with road closures and official marshalling as it is impossible to get insurance for the event.

As the Rector of the Parish of Clayton with Keymer and Chairman of Churches Together, I have met with representatives from the Royal British Legion and we are going to hold a service of Remembrance as usual at 2.30pm. This will be a short family friendly service of half an hour at St Cosmas and St Damian Church at Keymer with the traditional act of remembrance and laying of the wreaths afterwards at the War Memorial in the lower churchyard. The Clayton with Keymer Women’s Royal British Legion has kindly offered to provide and serve refreshments to all in attendance at Keymer Parish Hall in Church Mead afterwards. Those people who would like to can still march safely from the Legion Hall from 2pm to arrive at church for 2.30pm like before, there just will not be any road closures or official stewards.

We want to remain positive about the future of this important event for our community and hope all the usual organisations will want to continue to join us and take part in what is an essential part of our history, culture and heritage. It is intended that this event will happen annually at St Cosmas and St Damian Church and will continue to be led by myself and the other representatives of Churches Together Hassocks. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on Remembrance Sunday 10th November 2019.

Family Bonfire and Fireworks at Danny Park - Sun 3rd Nov. 2019

The traditional annual Family Bonfire & Fireworks display is taking place once again at Danny Park, off New Way Lane in Hurst.

This year’s event - on Sunday 3rd November 2019 - is organised by Andrew Hair from Hurstpierpoint Gymnastics Club with assistance from Oldland Mill Trust and Friends of Hassocks Infant School.

Andrew commented: “The Oldland Mill and the Gym Club, together with local schools in Albourne, Hassocks and three in Burgess Hill will benefit from your support on the night.”

The Hassocks will be running a BBQ, there’s free parking on site (ground conditions permitting) and if you take a ‘Guy’ to the Best Guy competition before 5.50pm - one child will be given free admission.

Advance tickets cost just £3 for an adult or child (£5 on the gate). A family of five advance ticket is £9 (£15 on the gate). Tickets available from Marchants or QD Stationery.

Gates open at 5.30pm, Best Guy Competition judging at 6pm and the Fireworks Display will start around 6.30pm.

See www.hurstpierpointgym.co.uk in case of inclement weather affecting parking/postponement.

Forthcoming copy dates - Hassocks Life

November 2019
Copy date: 22nd October
Distribution: 5th November

December 2019
Copy date: 19th November
Distribution: 3rd December

January 2020
Copy date: 16th December
Publication: 6th January 2020

February 2020
Copy date: 21st January
Publication: 4th February

March 2020
Copy date: 25th February
Publication: 10th March

April 2020
Copy date: 24th March
Publication: 7th April

May 2020
Copy date: 21st April
Publication: 5th May

June 2020
Copy date: 26th May
Publication: 9th June

July 2020
Copy date: 23rd June
Publication: 7th July

August 2020
Copy date: 21st July
Publication: 4th August

September 2020
Copy date: 25th August
Publication: 8th September

October 2020
Copy date: 22nd September
Publication: 6th October

November 2020
Copy date: 27th October
Publication: 10th November

Hassocks artists host Autumn Fair

A group of artists from Hassocks are holding an exhibition of their collective work next month.

Hassocks-autumn-fair.jpg

The Hassocks Autumn Fair will take place on 5th and 6th October at Garden Sage on London Road, and will feature a broad range of styles including illustration, paintings, screenprints and photography.

Featured artists from the village are: Sue Collins, Louisa White, John Gilbert, Dinah Beaton, Ashley Hutchinson, Jenny Chaitow, Linda Tucker, Linda Thompson, Dawn Mead, Abi Weatherseed and Clare Bishop. In addition to work for sale at the event, there will also be a range of cards available too.

“In the past we have run an Open Houses event in June, but this year we decided to mix it up and do a group exhibition together instead,” explained Clare Bishop. “As there will be a range of techniques and styles on display, it will be a great event to see some artwork created by local artists. We always really appreciate support from the village.”

My Vintage: Behind the Counter in Hassocks

My-Vintage-shop-in-Hassocks.jpg

By Deirdre Huston

Whenever I walk along the High Street my eyes are drawn to the eclectic items in the vibrant window displays at My Vintage, and no wonder! There is always something new to see and many of the objects hint at stories of other places or lives. Many of the items are pre-loved and have been given a new lease of life while others are new but individually customised or created by hand. This month I dropped into My Vintage to meet Elaine Bennett and find out more about how the shop has evolved.

Elaine is the shop manager and took on the business seven years ago. “I’ve always loved giving things a new lease of life and have a passion for transforming high quality old items into something unique.” As a child she loved collecting things, rummaging around for treasures at car boot sales and revamping old furniture, and this passion continued into adulthood. She has a background in fashion: earlier in her career she focused on her shop in Bond Street, Brighton, selling a selection of designer women’s wear but she made the choice to give this up when she had children. The family moved to Ditchling for a short while, and then about twelve years ago, in pursuit of more space and a bigger garden, Elaine, husband Pete and their three children moved to Hassocks.

As well as offering her own goods and services, Elaine leases space in the shop to carefully selected stallholders. “It’s always been important to me to get the right people in the shop. I like things to be high end, good quality and unusual.”

[Excerpt from full article in September 2019 Hassocks Life magazine]

Hassocks Honeez Netball Club

Hassocks-Honeez.jpg

Back in the summer of 2009, Jan Macnamara was disappointed by the lack of opportunities to play netball locally so she placed an advert in a local magazine and Susanne Spivey responded. With the help of Talkabout, the pair set up a throwabout session at Downlands’ netball courts. They realised they’d hit on something worthwhile when as many as twenty people turned up, some of whom soon settled into a regular team.

The Hassocks Netball Club was born, and that September they played their very first match as the Hassocks Honeez. They lost fifty to one but didn’t let that put them off. The team began playing in Burgess Hill but soon moved to the Brighton Midweek League (or BMW), which takes place at the back of the Amex stadium where there are eight courts and a real buzz at matches through all four divisions. The Honeys play in Division Three.

A number of the ladies are ‘social players’ but the club does put out a full team for the Tuesday Brighton League: The Hassocks Honeez. There’s also the Hassocks Bumblebees, who train on a Sunday and play matches on a Monday, and there could be scope for new players for this team.

If anyone wants to come along, search on Facebook for ‘Social Netball Hassocks’. Each event is posted weekly and you simply add yourself to the event if you want to attend. It’s £7.50 per training session, which is good value. All players are welcome and Jan is passionate about making netball accessible to all. This is why the team was set up and is no doubt why it has flourished over the last ten years. Any enquiries email: hassocks.nc at btinternet.com.

Hassocks Village Market seeks local support

Hassocks Village Market

Hassocks Village Market

Hassocks Village Market is seeking local businesses and causes to take up stalls, and aiming to help the local economy grow and develop new directions.

On the fourth Saturday of every month, apart from December when it’s the third, the centre of Hassocks is transformed into a village market, which features local businesses and also offers a showcase to local charities and good causes. The Market is based outside National Tyres, on the corner of the High Street’s junction with Dale Avenue.

The market has an array of longstanding stallholders, offering goods ranging through breads, cakes, local cheeses, fresh fish, fresh farm vegetables, pies, fresh meat and hand-made chocolate. These are well known in the village and many stalls have their regulars who look forward to the fourth Saturday just so they can replenish supplies.

And those regulars are encouraged to keep coming back not just by the quality of what’s on offer but also by a loyalty scheme, where customers can complete a card full of stamps and enter into a quarterly draw where the winners get a free hamper provided and stocked by the stallholders.

Opening at 9am and running through to 12.30pm, the market also offers local causes a great opportunity to show themselves off to villagers, by offering one pitch in every market free to local charities and causes. This could be anything local, from small fundraisers to organisations like the local hospices, and is worth doing to raise a profile.

HCO-logo.png

In addition, a stall is reserved for local pursuits such as arts and crafts: for example, recently the Made in Hassocks stall was manned by a group selling knitwear, while it could just as easily be Hassocks artists offering their masterpieces. Taking this stall could not only give opportunities to sell local products but could also bring in new enthusiasts who hadn’t been aware their main interest is covered in the village.

The Village Market is managed by Catriona Hawksley, under the auspices of Hassocks Community Organisation. If you would like to take up a stall there simply email Catriona on: hassocksvillagemarket1@ gmail.com, it’ll be worth it.

The next market is on Saturday 24th August 2019.

Hassocks Goes Gold, this September 2019

Screenshot 2019-07-30 at 16.17.16.png

In 2014, September was declared a united international month for raising awareness of childhood cancer and this September, Hassocks Goes Gold too. The aim of the Glow Gold September Campaign is to literally shine a gold light on the issue of childhood cancer. Edinburgh Castle, The Brighton Wheel & Sydney Opera House have all glowed gold to show support. Now Hassocks is joining in too.

Many of you will be aware that, in 2017, a much-loved Hassocks resident and Windmills pupil, Pearl Dixie BartlettBundy died from bone cancer, aged ten. In Pearl’s memory, her family desperately want to stop similar tragedies affecting other families.

One child in 500 will develop some form of cancer by the age of 14 years and, tragically, 1 in 5 of those children diagnosed with cancer will die as a result.

Medical experts still don’t understand the cause of many childhood cancers and, though there have been improvements in some childhood cancer survival rates, some have not changed for over 30 years. Diagnosis, treatments and survival rates for children can improve through research and increasing awareness.

Hassocks businesses are already signing up to host ribbon/wristband boxes, sponsor giant gold ribbons and display lovely golden sunflower posters that the children of Hassocks are helping to design.

There are lots of ways in which Hassocks residents can be involved too:

• Decorate your garden: grow golden yellow flowers in your window boxes or garden; light gold fairy lights in the September evening.

• Decorate your homes/offices: shine a gold light; display a poster; decorate your front window with anything gold.

• Think gold: wear a gold ribbon/wristband; dress in gold clothes; gold nail varnish; sport a gold wig.

• Host a gold event: bake gold cakes; have a gold themed street party; the sky is the limit…

• Sponsor a Giant Ribbon: £10 will buy a giant gold ribbon bow tied around a prominent Hassocks tree or landmark with your name attached to show you care.

Please pledge your support, share your gold ideas, download a poster, or sponsor a giant ribbon - by emailing: HassocksGoesGold@gmail.com or by joining Facebook/HassocksGoesGold and let’s turn the whole of Hassocks GOLD together!


UPDATE - EVENTS LISTING - SEPTEMBER 2019

Sat 7th September
Caz Houghton is running a special GOLD PARENT & CHILD YOGA CLASS at Profiles (cjyoga@yahoo.co.uk)

Fri 13th September
GOLD ZUMBA CLASS at Hassocks Sports Centre
6-7pm (£6, 01273 841348)

Fri 20th September
Hassocks Netball Club’s GOLD PUB QUIZ at The Hassocks Hotel (teams of up to 8, £5 each Contact Jan 07940 226717)

Fri 20th September
CHILDREN’S GOLD SUNFLOWER PICTURE COMPETITION EXHIBITION opens at Sussex Mother Café (runs until 29th Sept)

Sat 21st September
We Run! Hassocks is organising a GOLD FUN RUN with Gold Running Teams filling the streets. With GOLD GLITTER MAKE-UP STALL (teams of any size, starts outside Bella & Meg’s)

Sat 21st September
Goldfinch Styling CLOTHING & CANAPÉ EVENING at Sussex Mother Café (£5, info@sussexmother.co.uk)

Thurs 26th September
GOLD TAPAS EVENING at Kitchen de la Casa, 6-9pm (01273 845 655)

Fri 27th September
ALL DAY GOLD COFFEE MORNING at Reflex@42

Sat 28th September
FREE GOLD CRAFTS at the Hassocks Market (9am-12noon)

Sun 29th September
HASSOCKS GOES GOLD AWARDS CEREMONY at Sussex Mother Cafe, 11am-12noon - all welcome
• Best Gold Window Display award
• Find the Facts winner announced
• Sunflower Picture prizegiving
• Celebrate our success and plan for 2020!

Riding the HeART to Heart Trail via Hassocks

Sue Collins, Hassocks

Sue Collins, Hassocks

By Deirdre Huston

I dropped in on Sue Collins, local printer, designer and workshop tutor, to find out what she has going on this summer and - my goodness - she is certainly busy, and very talented too. A combination of photography and sketching forms the base on which she creates her striking and colourful images. In her unique body of work,

it’s possible to recognise local features and landmarks and yet she portrays each place or animal in an original and memorable manner.

She has recently opened her light-filled new gallery, Scots Pine Studios: an exciting development because it enables her to display a selection of her linocut work including cards, coasters and prints. The gallery earned its name from the giant Scot’s pine tree, a local landmark, at the corner of her garden. This is a prime example of how we can incorporate inspiring outdoor areas into our working life. Being able to work

somewhere so tranquil and uplifting is definitely a perk of being an artist but it’s not all about creative inspiration. There’s a lot of hard graft in being an artist too and it’s clear that Sue works hard to get her work seen through many different platforms. She has recently exhibited at the Horsham Museum & Art Gallery during the Horsham Year of Culture, is a member of numerous art groups and will be participating in the Hassocks Open Artists’ Autumn Fair at Garden Sage. She is also a member of the Chalk Gallery in Lewes, a collective of twenty-one artists, which is unique because they rehang their work every six weeks meaning there is always something new for visitors to see. Sue is brimming over with plans and also intends to use the space next to the gallery as a print room.

[excerpt from Hassocks Life magazine, issue number 4, August 2019

Music and ale festival rolls into Hassocks

James Walker

James Walker

Hassocks resident James Walker is putting on a mini music and ale festival in the village later this month.

The Mid Sussex Americana & Ale Festival is now in its third year, and is a celebration of the best UK Americana artists. The event takes place at The Hassocks Hotel, with main acts performing in the 300 capacity hall. Outside there will be an ale tent and trailer to add to the festival vibe.

James, as founder of Brighthelmstone Promotions, has put on many shows, from Brighton all the way to Nashville. “It’s really important to me to bring quality music to my village and when Rich and Chris Lambe at The Hassocks showed me the stunning function room, I just knew I needed to do something in one of the best sounding and looking halls in Mid Sussex,” he explained.

Ten artists are booked for the festival, including winners of the Fender Undiscovered Artist of 2018 ‘Lucas & King’ and also ‘Porchlight Smoker’, who have been described by legendary country music DJ Bob Harris as ‘an absolute gem’.

“It’s a tradition that Hassocks resident Ben Featherstone is a part of the festival,” James commented, “and we’re delighted that he will be celebrating the release of his new album with us.”

The Mid Sussex Americana & Ale Festival will take place on 24th August at The Hassocks Hotel, and starts at 11.30am. Tickets are available now from The Hassocks and Proper, as well as online.

Behind the Counter: The Purple Carrot Hassocks

Hassocks-the-purple-carrot.png

By Deirdre Huston

Brighton’s loss is Hassocks’ gain. I’m not in The Purple Carrot for long before I realise just how much there is going on. Many years ago when Chris went travelling he was fascinated by the cafe culture he saw. The mixing of the generations (not just families going out) and the general feeling of bonhomie. Back in the late 80s, inspired by his travels around Israel, Chris made tentative attempts to start a Mediterranean style café in Brighton, but loans were not readily available and, sadly, Chris had to shelve his plans.

He put in a good few years working for the council but when redundancy created an opportunity for him to make a change, he was eager to rekindle his earlier ambitions. He accepted that he’d become rooted in Hassocks and found his first premises on the west side of the station where many of you will have sampled the excellent cheeseboards at book club or card evenings. When the lease at No 6 became available, Chris recognised its potential and the prominent corner location between high street and station is well suited to his vision for The Purple Carrot’s future.

The interior is light filled and relaxed. Customers wander in and out and Chris is quick to put people at their ease. As he talks to me, although he is diffident and self deprecating, his motivations soon shine through. Rather than bean counting, it’s a wish to create a community which is at the heart of his business plans. He elaborates: “I’ve always been drawn to dealing with a range of people of varying ages and backgrounds. I want them to be allowed to be able to take their time and enjoy their food and drink.” Chris has a real passion for the food side of things; the invention and experimentation, the getting people to try out new things.

Summer Trail created by Hassocks youths

Hassocks-youths-summer-trail.png

By Deirdre Huston

When I went along to Hassocks Youth Hangout a group of young people were engrossed in developing the Adastra Summer Trail. This activity is being designed by them and is hoped to be popular with children and families over the summer.

The initiative uses recycled materials and works in a similar way to geocaching but without the app.

Families will be able to download the trail from https://sussexcyp.org.uk/news/hassocks-science-trail/.

They must solve clues to find boxes hidden across Adastra Park which contain hands-on science challenges to complete and a stamp for marking their entry form. Everyone who completes the trail can take their completed sheet to the Hassocks Market on 24th August where they will receive a small reward and be entered into a prize draw. The Turner Dumbrell Foundation in Ditchling funded the activities, staff and promotion necessary to make the Adastra Summer Trail a reality, while Hassocks Parish Council were very supportive in allowing Adastra Park to be used. “It was lovely to have that immediate response and support,” admits Liz Jeavans, local resident and scientist extraordinaire.

Top Hassocks businesses get praised

Hassocks-muddy-stiletto-awards-2019.png

Muddy Stiletto Awards

By Caz Houghton

No, this isn’t about inappropriate footwear and getting stuck as your heels sink into wet grass on a walk up to Jack and Jill.

Muddy Stilettos has become the ‘urban guide to the countryside’, a reference for the best local things to do in local areas across 21 counties, including Sussex. Since 2013 it has been running an awards programme to celebrate independent, creative businesses.

During May you might have noticed a hive of activity as Hassocks residents made it their mission to show support to our local businesses, nominating and voting across 24 lifestyle categories. With over 15,000 businesses involved and 750,000 votes cast, you can’t help but feel proud that five of the Sussex finalists were from Hassocks:

Best Beauty Salon FINALIST: Profiles Health and Beauty

Best Hairdresser FINALIST: Reflex@42

Best Gift Shop FINALIST: Indigo

Best Jewellery Store FINALIST: Marvellous Marmalade

Best Florist WINNER: Bella June Flowers

Art that takes the biscuit - Village People

Kellie Miller, artist, Clayton -

Kellie Miller is a local artist who creates, curates and collects a multitude of art from all around the world. Having been highly sought-after for her ceramics in Japan at the beginning of the millennium, she’s now settled in Clayton and has turned her house and garden into a beautiful display of work featuring a number of renowned international artists.

By Joe Wayte

Kellie Miller was born and grew up in Battersea before venturing down to Brighton University to study 3D design. “I always wanted to be an artist,” Kellie said confidently, “my course included a mix of woodwork, paint, ceramics and more besides, so over the years I’ve worked with lots of different materials.”

In 2002 Kellie was offered an artist’s residency by the Arts Council which took her to Shigaraki in Japan. She was later selected for her second international exhibition for which she fired 101 cups to create a conceptual piece of art, inspired by the book The Art of Possibility. “The cups were sold individually after the exhibition,” she explained, “with the idea that they’re like seeds, going off into the world, and maybe one day, somehow, they’ll all come back together.”

Having spent a lot of time in the country, Kellie says she has a deep love for Japan and is still influenced by its culture today. “Going to Japan is like going to the moon,” she described, “you’ve got to experience it at least once in your life.”

Kellie has always based herself in the South of England. In 1996 she founded the Biscuit Studio in Hove, which was initially a centre for ceramics artists. Over the years, aspiring artists of all medias have rented space in its inspiring environment.

It was at the studio that Kellie met her husband, Kim, who lived in the house adjacent to Biscuit Studio. “The studio didn’t have its own toilet,” she explained, “and when new tenants arrived in the unit next door they denied us access to the facilities we’d been using since we opened.” Kim came to her rescue and offered Kellie a key to his house so that she could use his loo until the issue was resolved. 12 years after they first met, Kellie and Kim were married in 2011.

[Excerpt from full article printed in Issue No2 Hassocks Life magazine - June 2019]

Introducing Deirdre, your new assistant editor

Deridre Huston, assistant editor at Hassocks Life

Deridre Huston, assistant editor at Hassocks Life

By David Tingley

I am delighted to announce that Hassocks resident Deirdre Huston has been appointed as Hassocks Life’s assistant editor.

Deirdre is a guidebook author, writer and photographer, and has lived in the village for more than 25 years. “I was drawn to Hassocks Life when I saw the first issue,” she explained. “I really liked the format and could see its potential in our community – so I was keen to be part of it.”

Deirdre is married to Ian Rayland and has three children, all of whom have grown up in Hassocks. She’s been part of local fundraising committees, NCT groups and helped set up a book club 13 years ago, which is still going strong today.

The role of the assistant editor will deal with the day-to-day communication about content going into the magazine, in addition to writing up both news and feature articles for inclusion on our pages. Deirdre will also be ‘sniffing out’ stories about events and activities that are taking place in the village!

If you know someone we should be talking to, or have an event which you’d like promoted to our area of Hassocks, Keymer and Clayton – then do please email Deirdre via editor@hassockslife.co.uk. We will always welcome ideas, suggestions and articles of local interest.

We also need great cover photos of the village, taken throughout the year. If you have any, please email them in to: photos@hassockslife.co.uk. We will file them, and if we publish yours on a cover, you’ll get a £20 shopping voucher to spend on the High Street.

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun returns this month

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun 2019

Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun 2019

The community bike ride returns later this month, as resident Pippa Crouch takes over the reins this year.

The event will take place on Sunday 30th June 2019 and will feature two safe, marshalled routes – a four and eight mile ride. Both start from The Hassocks Hotel with registration at 9.30am. The shorter route will go via Oldland Mill (which will be open until 1pm) and Ditchling, ending back at The Hassocks. The longer route will go via Oldland Mill, Ditchling, Underhill Lane, Hurstpierpoint and back to the same place.

Pippa explained: “This fun event is for the whole community, regardless of age and cycling ability.” The event will be kindly marshalled by volunteers from the Proper Cycling Club, and will feature a BBQ too.

For more information pop into Proper Coffee, QD Stationery or like the Facebook page – search for Hassocks Bike ‘n’ Fun.

Behind the Counter: Bella and Megs, Hassocks

Chantal and Phil from Bella and Megs Cafe in Hassocks

By Joe Wayte

When Phil and wife Chantal decided to move into their corner plot on Keymer Road, they heard the cries from the people of Hassocks hoping it wouldn’t be ‘yet another coffee shop’. While during the day you can turn up any time for a quick beverage and a bite to eat, Friday nights at Bella & Megs are quite different, and if you haven’t already booked, you’ll need to join the waiting list.

In April 2018, Bella & Megs café and bistro opened its doors for the first time. The sun was shining, prosecco was on tap and many locals showed up to see what owners Phil and Chantal had done with the place. “It was very white when we first acquired the shop,” Chantal explained, “so we decided to do a refit. I wanted somewhere that felt homely, yet rustic and modern.” The launch was a huge success and, after twelve months in business, the pair are pleased with how things are going.

Originally from Newick, Phil started his career in stage management at the theatre in Worthing. After ten years of commanding crew behind the scenes, he decided he was ready for his next challenge and turned his hand to hospitality. “I went into training with the British Institute of Innkeeping,” Phil told me, “and then advertised myself locally when I was ready to take on a job.” Phil received an offer shortly after and moved to Poynings to work at the Royal Oak. It was there that he met Chantal, who grew up in the village.

This isn’t the first time the duo have gone into business together. For a number of years they ran Dolly’s Pantry in Ditchling, which they sold in 2007.

[Read the full article in the May 2019 issue of Hassocks Life magazine]

Mr Wignall - Village People interview

Mark Wignall, Downlands Community College

By David Tingley

If you want to learn something about community, just have a chat with Mark Wignall, Headteacher at Downlands Community School.

Although born in London, Mark spent most of his childhood in the Midlands – living just down the road from the Cadburys factory; anyone who has heard him talk in an assembly has heard his soft ‘brummy’ accent. Mark has been married to Lynne for 24 years and they have three children Ellen, Harry and Joe. He describes his devotion to Birmingham City Football Club as ‘a life sentence’!

Mark has always been keen on sport. He has always loved rugby, football, cricket and squash, to name but a few, so it is no surprise that he went on to study Sports Science at Brighton Polytechnic. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time, but I did love sport,” he explains, “although there weren’t as many options for a Sports Science graduate back then.”

Mark started his working life as a fitness instructor in the gym at the House of Commons; a role which ranged from designing personal fitness programmes for MPs, to collecting towels. After moving up to Harrogate to work at a luxury hotel doing a similar role, it wasn’t long before Mark asked himself: ‘Is this the rewarding career I really want?’. After some soul-searching, he returned to Sussex to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with a view to being a teacher. Placements during his course were in secondary schools in Bexhill and Cuckfield.

[Read the full story in the May 2019 issue of Hassocks Life magazine…]