When travelling abroad with the Armed Forces, I meet people from the constituency. During a war time visit to Basra, a young Royal Marine from Worthing kindly lent me his bunk. In the Falklands with the Royal Air Force, I met others from West Sussex.
Falklanders have a multicultural charity to continue holding events and activities celebrating their range of heritage. It fosters mutual respect and cohesion in the community. Their vision: ‘One Community, Falklands Together’.
As in our county, towns and villages, their recent census of their ordinarily resident population of 3,662 recorded 68 countries of origin, from A for Australia to Z for Zimbabwe. The top ten answers on national identity included Falkland Islander, British, St Helenian, Filipino, Chilean, Zimbabwean and South African.
This week in Speaker’s House, I admired displays from last year’s multicultural days, including the Goose Green food festival. This reminded me of the great gatherings on the East Preston greens during the Festival. Darren Vandeweg of DK’s Garage drove me in the Village Carnival procession, entertainingly giving a master class in car restoration. Our oldest car is a long lasting pink Smart car, serviced and tested regularly at Hares, in succession to Sussex Cars.
I enjoyed Saturday’s Heene Community Fayre, part of the Worthing Festival. Look to the TimeForWorthing website for events up to Sunday. I listened to Councillor Noel Atkins about his work with CAP, Church Action on Poverty. At one of the stalls, I obtained Joanna Lumley’s stimulating memoir based on items in the rooms of her house.
It has not been possible to join Homeward Bound on Wednesday at The Toad in the Hole near Morrisons for ‘a cathartic sing-along with songs from the land and sea’. I learnt Rolling Home from Commodore Kenneth Brook RNR, commander of Atlantic convoys. Born in 1889, he had sailed in square-rigged sailing ships; he was decorated in each World War.
There is a rum festival and local historian Chris Hare on Sussex Day will talk at a lunch of when Sussex had a king. On Saturday at the Old Songs’ Community Hall, the Ladies Who Sing Choir will celebrate in song our new King on his official birthday. Susan Belton will lead the Blue Plaque tour from the Pier Pavilion Theatre at 11.30 too.
Worthing and other places along our coast traditionally help students and business people from around the world to improve skill in the English language. Local families enjoy being hosts
Unless the incomers are teetotal, as I was when young, they may be attracted by the tourist suggestion on a Great British Bucket List. ”The best Sussex Vineyard tours will have you sipping English sparkling wines in the South Downs and sampling fine whites by the south coast.”
After Prime Minister’s Questions this week, Council leaders could join Sussex MPs at Westminster in advance of St Richard’s Sussex Day on 16 June. Against the backdrop of county flags, winemakers display samples. Treasury ministers will hear views on how to improve the system for raising tax revenue with simpler fairer alcohol rates.
Our arts and heritage are admired around the world. We enjoyed a sunny evening at Folkington Manor listening to the illustrated evening conversation between Dr Harry Brunjes, great chair of English National Opera and Melvyn Bragg. Lord Bragg’s contribution to our cultural life and general understanding is broad and deep.
We are also known for medicine. As the 75th anniversary of the National Health Service comes next month, I thank those who thought it was right, necessary and possible, including the first Minister of Health in 1919, then the Liberal Dr Christopher Addison. Nearly thirty years later, he was a Labour cabinet minister in the Lords when the NHS was inaugurated. In 1944, the Conservative Sir Henry Willink had published the first NHS White Paper. In a spirit of conciliation, let each party give and share credit with others