Memories of Worthing in the sixties

Half a century ago, a young family moved to Worthing from the outskirts of London.

I was the youngest member of that family, wearing short trousers to school--when not reading the Beano or kicking a football around and pretending to be Bobby Moore. My earliest Worthing memory is sitting on a carpet that felt like sandpaper in our new, sparsely furnished home in the summer of 1966, watching England win the World Cup on a small black and white television.

We hadn’t really chosen Worthing. The move came with an obligatory job transfer for my tax-man father, from London to the Inland Revenue site by the bridge at Durrington. Little did we know then that we’d get involved in all sorts of aspects of Worthing life, and that the family would retain a presence here for 51 years.

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Now—following my brother’s move to the USA many years back, and both my parents’ deaths in the last three years, it’s time to say goodbye to the place I’ve always thought of as my home town. I’ve finally cleared, and sold, the house in the road (Hillside Avenue) where we put down roots, grew up and grew old. It’s a parting tinged with sadness, because I’ll be leaving the town that has given the McCormacks happy memories over fifty years.

After Vale Primary School, Worthing High School for Boys (at Durrington) and university in Liverpool, I returned to the town between 1979 and 1981 as a reporter on the Worthing Gazette and Herald, before moving to various journalism jobs at the BBC and in newspapers.

As empty nesters, my parents, Tony and Tess, in their retirements, were very active in many aspects of Worthing life: Barbershop singing and bridge clubs for my father, and Sweet Adelines, short-mat bowls and croquet for my mother. Through their back-room support of the 8th Worthing Sea Scouts and the Worthing Gang Show they made life-long friends, most of whom, sadly, have now passed away as well. Throughout the 50 years, the family also formed close friendships and enjoyed generous support from the church community at St Michael’s Catholic church in High Salvington.

I’m sure our family’s experience mirrors that of thousands of families down the decades, in the place I first came to know knew as Sunny Worthing.

The town was good for us, and, on behalf of my family, I’d like to say thank-you.

Steve McCormack.

St Gabriel’s Road, London

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