Peacehaven crowds were thrilled to meet Harry and Meghan

From six-moths-old to 89 years young, crowds of thousands circled the Joff Youth Club in the centre of Peacehaven ready to give Harry and Meghan a right royal welcome.

Thursday, 4th October 2018, 2:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th October 2018, 3:59 pm
A youngster is open-mouthed with awe during the royal visit

School children clung to the metal barriers, many clutching poseys of flowers, hoping they will be one of the chosen few to have a brief audience with the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Peacehaven and Lewes Town Cryer summed up the feeling of so many people lining the street.

He said, “Peacehaven tends to be a bit of a forgotten town, but there is so much going on here.

A youngster is open-mouthed with awe during the royal visit

“For Harry and Meghan to focus on young people’s mental health in this town is such a good thing to focus on.”

For Mr Borthwick playing his part in welcoming the royal couple to Peacehaven was laced with added meaning. He had met Princess Diana of Wales during her first visit to Sussex all those years ago.

He added, “I’m hoping Harry and I can connect through our matching ginger beards.”

The jovial mood of the crowds patiently awaiting the pristine black Range Rover convoy was palpable.

Children were in prime position to greet the royals thanks to many of the schools in Peacehaven allowing parents to collect their charges early.

Isla Jones, six from Meridian School said, “They live in a palace, but I think they will like it here at the Joff.”

Four-year-old Dolly Hann from Telscombe had made a poster with pictures of the couple and their families, including Harry’s late mother, Diana, to support the young royals on their Sussex tour.

But it was Alicia Galka and Bella Chapman-Howe who stole the show. The four-year-old girls peered through the railings for more than an hour, clutching knitted dolls of Harry and Meghan.

As the couple arrived, they greeted dignitaries including the Mayor of Peacehaven before making their way straight into The Joff.

With only a promise of Harry shouting, “We’ll be back.” All the chanting crowd could do was wait.

But it proved too much for Alicia and Bella who began to cry as they watched the door to the youth club close.

After a long half and hour, the entourage of protection officers and press emerged, followed by Meghan and Harry who separated, and made a bee-line for the crowds.

Those around the girls breathed the sigh of relief as Harry reached out and took the dolls, taking his time to speak to his tiny fans.

Alicia said, “We think he liked them.”

Janet Gosden, 58, from Peacehaven was one of the lucky ones to meet the royals and shake Harry’s hand.

Ms Gosden said, “He was shaking the children’s hand, and I offered him my hand. I said ‘I’m a kid too’. He replied, “No you’re not, you’re beautiful!”