It takes all sorts

EVERY cloud has a silver lining. When the Comtesse de Flandre ran aground in 1925 under the cliffs near Seaford, it was a sweet moment for local rapscallions.

As Wendy Hughes puts it in her recently published Shipwrecks of Sussex (History Press): ‘Thankfully, everyone on board, passengers and crew, were rescued by breeches buoy from the cliff top.

‘The Incident was well covered in the Press, but she will always be remembered, especially by the then children of Seaford.

‘The vessel was carrying a cargo of half-processed liquorice and word soon went around the classrooms that sweeties were scattered all along the shore. The children could hardly wait for the final bell and as soon as the school day was over, dashed down to the beach.’

One borrowed his neighbour’s old penny-farthing and rushed off. But, having no idea how to stop the cycle, had to grab a fortunately placed tree branch and hang there, watching the cycle travel on and crash!

Once on the beach, the kids stuffed themselves with the sweet taste of success. The next day it was reported that few of the boys were at school; and those who did make it, spent most of their time queuing for the lavatory!