Skipping vicars and a paddle in the fountain

Vicars tend to be happy souls but it's not often you see a bunch of them skipping merrily through Queens Square.

A paddle in the Queens Square fountain in 1978
A paddle in the Queens Square fountain in 1978

In 1978, six of them picked up their skipping ropes and jumped to it – officially kicking off Christian Aid Week. The Revs were Henry Pearson (Holy Trinity, Tilgate), Bob Stammers (St Mary’s, Southgate), Eric Passingham (St Richard’s, Three Bridges), Malcolm Bridger (St Albans, Gossops Green), Jim Girdwood (St Andrew’s, Furnace Green) and Malcolm Dodd (St Elizabeth’s, Northgate).

The much-loved ‘Boy and Dolphin’ fountain was still in Queens Square in 1978 but was used by some as a place to chuck their litter. Councillor June Clay came up with the, hopefully, tongue-in-cheek suggestion of stocking the fountain with piranhas to deter litter louts!

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Over at St Margaret’s Primary School, Neil Veaney, Matthew May, Paul Woods, Billy Bower, Jonathan Cunningham, Andrew Lewis, Ian Burke and Darren Wells won the six-a-side Brookes Sports Champions Trophy. The lads beat Gossops Green in the final, with goals from Billy and Matthew.

A paddle in the Queens Square fountain in 1978

Another game of football was rather more unusual. When Jack Garvey and Barrie Harvey announced they were leaving Mallory Batteries, in Spindle Way, their colleagues decided the best way to say farewell was with a women v men football match – with the men wearing wellies. The game was held at St Francis School, Southgate Drive, and the women won 10-7.

Meanwhile, Crawley Town were playing Finchley in the FA Trophy and were greeted by a special guest – Margaret Thatcher. Mrs Thatcher was patron of Finchley but it brought them no luck as Crawley won 1-0.

A group of children, whose parents worked for Unilock, were introduced to a five-month-old lion cub called Rebel. The company planned a trip to Longleat later in the year so gave the children a taste of things to come.

At the Loppets Road play centre, in Tilgate, children were treated to a slap up meal of burger and beans by group leader Joan Townsend and her team. The only rule was that the youngsters had to do the washing up.

Clever children at Broadfield North Middle School were presented with their Junior First Aid certificates by Sergeant Ray Fox, while the town’s cubs and scouts took part in the 18th Crawley and Horsham District Scout Show – ‘Let’s Go...1978’.