Haywards Heath Mayor has a wonderful time as Franklands Village celebrates its 90th anniversary!

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The Mayor joined villagers young and old, including lifelong Haywards Heath resident Janie Bishop, born in Franklands Village in 1938, to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the opening of Franklands Village.

The event featured a nostalgic look back of the construction of the village by the newly formed Rotary Club of Haywards Heath, and its development into a community with its own shop, village hall, church and its many clubs and sports teams. The 90 years exhibition also featured refreshments from the Women’s Institute and voluntary donations to the Mayor’s Charity.

Town Mayor, Cllr Stephanie Ingelsfield said: “I had an enchanting afternoon helping Franklands Village celebrate its 90th anniversary. Janie (born Jane King, at no 359 in 1938) and her family put up a exhibition to celebrate the bold step that the Rotary Club and local visionary benefactors and entrepreneurs took by deciding to create from scratch, a community housing project so that young couples and their families could make a joyful, safe and wholesome life for themselves.

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"The exhibition was an educational and touching walk down memory lane, with Janie kindly taking me around all the displays which retraced not only the history of the village but also the story of many of its residents. It contained the momentous meeting in 1932 between the Rotary Club and its partners that defined and got the whole project started, photographs of costumes and children at fairs and glimpses into the lives of families, including a memorial display for the tragic landslide of 1994. As I was walking through the exhibition, I was surrounded by joyful reunions of people recognising each other as they used to be neighbours back in the day, former teachers, social club members and Janie’s fellow W.I members. Janie’s son had even created an amazing map, which I think deserves to be displayed in a museum as it is a map of the whole estate, with every single dwelling represented, alongside the date and names of the original residents.

Mayor and Janie & her family at the Franklands Village 90th Anniversary.Mayor and Janie & her family at the Franklands Village 90th Anniversary.
Mayor and Janie & her family at the Franklands Village 90th Anniversary.

“The highlight for me, which really sums up the whole day, is when I was looking at the black and white picture of a fair and Janie said to me ‘you see the little boy on the right of that photo, look up over there, he is the man serving the tea!’ Meeting Janie’s family, who still live locally was quite a treat, making me realise that in Franklands Village there are residents that are literally four and even fifth generation dwellers. The sense of community and continuity there is second to none!

“Thank you to Janie and her family for putting on an amazing exhibition and to the Rotary Club, Haywards Heath Town Council, Franklands Village, the Women’s Institute, Mid Sussex Philatelic Society and Screen Archive South East for contributing to this heart-warming community celebratory anniversary day.”

Franklands Village

Franklands Village is a unique community that was founded through the ambitious and challenging initiative of the Haywards Heath Rotary Club in response to its motto, “To help others”.

For more information, visit https://www.fvha.org.uk/