DAME HEFFLE released her ‘cuckoo’ – and two days later Heathfield residents heard him sing for the first time.
Spring came to Heathfield last Saturday when the medieaval Heffle Cuckoo Fayre opened at Cade Street.
A fair charter was established in the village in the 14th century, and a version of the fair – formerly a chance for farmers and growers to meet, show off and trade their stock – has been held on and off ever since.
Now an opportunity for families to get out of doors in the first good weather of the year (the sun always shines on Cuckoo Fayre day) this year’s fair broke all attendance records.
The day started with a procession from Heathfield Community College.
In the lead was the Heathfield Silver Band followed by the college’s Batacuda Band, Spiritus from Uckfield Community Technology College, local children in costume, stilt walkers and Dame Heffle in her carriage pulled by a mini traction engine.
Town crier, former Hailsham mayor Geoff Rowe introduced Dame Heffle who released her ‘cuckoo’ to cheers from the crowd.
Then families browsed stalls set up by village groups, enjoyed hot food, showed off their dogs, laughed at racing terriers and took part in a lively barn dance in the evening.
Apart from a sharp morning shower, the sun shone all day and the real cuckoo turned up in town woodland early on Monday morning.
Organiser Audrey Milton said: “Dame Heffle worked her magic again.”
Accounts are still being finalised but the fayre raised in the region of £3,000 for Demelza Hospice Care for Children.