‘Brilliant’ time at Littlehampton festival despite the wind

UNSETTLED weather and heavy winds almost threatened to blow Littlehampton’s Waterfront Festival off course over the weekend.

Lashing rain during the early hours of Sunday combined with whipping winds to nearly bring the festival to its knees, said organiser David Coppin.

Dozens of traders and groups, which had agreed to turn out for the event, pulled out at the 11th hour on Sunday, because of the weather.

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Gusts also affected events on the River Arun, with the Offshore Racing Drivers’ Association having to withdraw the high-speed powerboats from the water over mounting worries for the racers’ safety in the turbulent sea.

David said: “I have to laugh now because I can’t do anything else.

“All of our 30 market stalls pulled out and, honestly, I can’t blame them. There’s no way they would have managed to pitch up the stalls in the wind.

“We also had the Harley-Davidson motorcycle group cancel at the last minute because of the weather.

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“We could have managed with a bit of rain, or maybe just a bit of wind. But both of them combined killed us.”

But despite their bitter disappointment, organisers remained optimistic about the riverside spectacle.

About 350 brave swimmers took to the choppy waters of the Arun on Saturday for the annual Iron Man Swim, which saw the competitors front crawl their way from the Ford Marina to the slipway at Fisherman’s Quay, Littlehampton.

Another hit during the weekend were the RNLI’s open days, with special “guests”, two lifeboats from Shoreham and Selsey.

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And dozens of people enjoyed an impressive display by a local morris dance group in Pier Road, as well as a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

The festival was supported by Littlehampton Town and Arun District councils, as well as the Littlehampton Harbour Board.

Anne Carnegie, harbour manager, said she was impressed with the atmosphere during the weekend.

“Even with the wind, everyone was having a brilliant time. Hundreds of people were stood outside the Look and Sea centre, to watch the end of the Iron Man Swim, which was fantastic.

“But the smash hit was probably the lifeboat visit.

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“There were plenty of people queuing up to have a tour around them,” she said.

David thanked all the businesses that had helped with the festival, adding that next year’s event would be bigger and better than ever before – weather permitting, that is.

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