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Three centenary celebrations in one at the Sidlesham fete

By Kelly Wickham (


The PROSPECT of rain didn’t deter visitors or the sun from shining brightly on Saturday in Sidlesham.


The annual summer fete in Sidlesham, organised by the Chichester City Band, celebrated all things centenary with 100 years of the RAF, 100 year since the end of the First World War and 100 years of women’s suffrage.


The celebrations were reflected in the variety of costumes worn by stallholders and villagers and the plentiful bunting fluttering in the lively breeze and helped to raise £8,500 for St Mary’s Church.


Air Commodore Michael Allisstone (retired), a long-time resident of Sidlesham, arriving in one of the many classic cars attending, was welcomed by the Rev Stephen Guise, and opened the fete in grand style.


In St Mary’s church, the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum set up a fascinating display of RAF history, beside the mini show of produce, cookery and flowers.


On the vicarage field, there was a variety of sideshows to be enjoyed, including the runaway train (staffed by  Chichester Air Cadets) the coconut shy, hook a duck, and, not wanting to leave out the village animals, visitors could guess the ages and weights of Chris Spiby’s calves and lambs and watch the usual most enjoyable dog show with classes for every variety of dog – puppies, rescue dogs and waggiest tails.


For refreshments, delicious home- made teas were on offer, served from the new parish rooms, and a Pimms tent, Ron’s beer stall and Caroline’s dairy ice creams, too.


Lucky chancers won bottles of whisky, teddies, valuable vouchers for jewellery and days out, and all this to the accompaniment of the Chichester City Band, which  also fielded a team for the tug-of-war and beat the best village team!


Andrea Cifelli, secretary of Chichester City Band, said: “Sidlesham Fete is one of our favourite events of the summer — it has great stalls, lots of activities and particularly delicious cakes!


“This year, refreshments were served in the stunning new church hall, which provided shelter from a very energetic wind that was doing its best to blow the stalls and our tent away — we were very lucky not to lose our music.


“Fortunately, we never go anywhere without a plentiful supply of clothes pegs and magnets so the show was able to go on.


“Of course, the most important part of the afternoon at Sidlesham is always the tug of war! We were thrilled to repeat our 2017 success, winning not only the title but also (for the first time) a trophy!


“We’ll keep it nicely polished until 2019, when we look forward to our next title defence — we might just play a little music, too.”

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