PICTURES: Sidlesham church fête

Sidlesham was filled with British spirit on Saturday as villagers worked together to save the church fête.

People from far and wide made their way to the Manhood Peninsula for the occasion, making the most of everything on offer on a very wet afternoon.

People wore smiles as well as their raincoats. Picture: Derek Martin DM17737707a

People wore smiles as well as their raincoats. Picture: Derek Martin DM17737707a

Visitors spent their money generously and throughout it all, Chichester City Band played on.

Janet Harland, churchwarden at St Mary Our Lady, said: “The amount raised was an astounding £6,800. Miracles do happen!

“Everything seemed to conspire against us this year – not just the weather but the very poor state of the vicarage field, where the fete is usually held.

“George Torrance, a local farmer, came to our rescue and allowed us to use the field where he had grown and harvested camomile.

“We were unable set up anything on the days before the fête, so we had to appeal for help on the field at 7am on Saturday.

“Many local folk came to help and soon the tents, tilts and gazebos were up and ready for the stallholders and their goods to arrive.

“Fortunately, we were able to prepare in the dry and the rain stayed away until just before we opened at 2 o’clock. Thereafter, the British spirit showed itself in spades.”

Commander Gavin Marshall, who opened the fête, quipped that the theme of Sussex by the Sea was possibly too pertinent.

Organisers could not believe how many came from far and wide. There was a constant stream of traffic and people, and they all wore smiles as well as their raincoats, retreating into the tents when the particularly heavy rain came.

The fête is the church’s main fundraising event each year. It pays towards the upkeep of the precious and beautiful Grade I listed building.