Isfield & Little Horsted

ON YOUR BIKES: A small group of children waiting for the school bus in Isfield was a little surprised and amused at the sight before them. A rather large gentleman, 19 stones of him in fact, appeared to be in minor difficulty. He was in the process of departing a local hostelry where he had spent the night resting his saddle-sore posterior, but there was a disconcerting sound of scraping coming from his bicycle. This newcomer to the joys of cycling was quickly made aware that his saddlebags containing all the possessions he was likely to need over the coming weeks has been attached to his machine the wrong way round. Hence the din. If you happened to be in the village during that summer of 1979 you might well have seen this portly cyclist. Tom Vernon was his name, and his mission for reasons that are not entirely clear, was to cycle from Muswell Hill in north London to France’s Mediterranean coast. Tom was, at the time, a journalist with BBC Radio 4 and it appears that a producer at the Beeb had put this adventurous idea into Tom’s head. Tom completed the ride in three weeks or so and wrote a book, Fat Man On A Bicycle, in which he recorded, with much humour, his daily adventures. Isfield was his second overnight stop and he clearly enjoyed his hours in the village. Tom died of leukaemia two years ago, but his cousin John Haigh and John’s son Ian are now taking part in a commemorative ride over broadly the same route to raise money for the charity CLIC Sargent, which supports Children With Cancer. Last Saturday afternoon the two cyclists and their support team wives stopped off in Isfield for a couple of hours to discover what had delighted Tom so much and also to take on board some refreshments. John said: ‘Tom was no cycling fanatic; he bought a bargain bike and set off for the 800 miles or so to the south of France. We’re aiming to do the trip in 15 days.’ The slimline duo, John lives in Macclesfield and Ian in Oxford, had raised just over £500 towards their £2,000 target by the time they arrived in Dieppe on Sunday. More details and the opportunity to sponsor John and Ian can be found at

ART WORKSHOP: Isfield-based artist Adele Scantlebury and colleague Martin Brockman will be presenting an Introduction to Woodblock Printing workshop at Isfield Village Hall next Saturday (September 26, 10am to 5pm). The workshop is suitable for both beginners and those with some experience. Details and booking forms from Adele on 07969119479 or

CHURCH SERVICES: St Margaret’s, Isfield (10am): First Sunday of the month, Holy Communion; second, Matins; third, Holy Communion; fourth, Family; fifth, Holy Communion. St Michael’s, Little Horsted: First Sunday, Communion (11am); second, Holy Communion, Book of Common Prayer (8am); third, Family service, (11am); fourth and fifth, Holy Communion, Book of Common Prayer (8am).

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