Chariot of fire floats on Pells Pool in Lewes

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FOR the eighth year running Tongue and Groove Midsummer Party at the Pells Pool in Lewes on Saturday was a sell-out success.

It raised more than £2,000 for the pool and the Starfish Youth Music Project, which had six of its bands playing on the night.

There was talk that the usual Tongue and Groove finale, featuring the flamboyant front-man Phil Rhodes (the Tongue in the Groove), might be diminished by strict doctor’s orders that he must not submerge his hand in water due to recent tendon surgery on his left pointer – even though his damaged hand was protected by a gleaming golden splint and held aloft by a flowered sling.

How wrong the doubters were. Rhodes was paraded to the deep end of the pool, which was covered in a bed of dry ice. He lifted a massive trident with his good hand and a firework fountain gateway led him down the steps to poolside.

It was a leap of faith as Rhodes stepped forward onto a platform, which then ignited and transformed into a flaming chariot.

A spectacular waterfall of fire then cascaded down the entire far wall of the site as Rhodes majestically traversed the pool, complete with trident and dry ice (a true Poseidon moment) as the sky lit up with sublime explosions from the experts of the Waterloo Bonfire Society team.

Lewes Youth Theatre Production, also led by Rhodes, produced the event which was remarkable in it’s complexity and, alongside their Battle of Lewes Experience event in April, means they have really made a mark producing magical events in and around the town.

Support for the Midsummer Party came from, among others, Viva Lewes, Sussex Downs College, Bill’s and Boathouse Farm.

Rhodes said: “As always the night had such a heart and it is always a joy to see so many young people experiencing and loving live music.

“The Pells must be kept open and Starfish Music Project must keep alive – they are both very dear to me. Thank you to all who support us.

“Phil Ransley [the Pells Pool Manager] deserves a medal for agreeing to let me loose once more ... it just gets better and better.”

He urged would-be party-goers to buy tickets early next year to avoid disappointment.