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Summer Fete 1952

      The following cutting is from 'The Argus' of Saturday July 23, 2016 and is reproduced here with permission.

Summer Fete 1952

Note the caption : "Who are the people here and what are they doing ?"

Most OLO members will instantly recognise that all six lads are wearing school caps from Lewes County Grammar School for boys. The adult on the extreme right is of course our headmaster : Neville Bradshaw. The other adult is the radio and TV personality Gilbert Harding who appears to be signing autographs for his fans.

The lads appear to be 12 or 13 years old so probably born shortly before WW2 so would now be in their late 70s. Some of them may well be OLO members or be recognised by other members. The chap wearing glasses is almost certainly David Hatcher - a boy named in our 1951 panoramic photo.

This extract from our 1952 school magazine 'The Barbican' gives an account of the day but doesn't alas give an exact date. Since the lads are wearing macs and the magazine refers to a rugby match taking place the same day, your webmaster's opinion is that it was probably a Xmas Fete held in December 1952 - but who knows, another OLO member might actually be able to remember the details.



ABOUT £540 was raised for the fund to provide a MemorIal Chapel for Lewes County Grammar School for Boys by a fete and fair held at the school on Saturday afternoon and evening, when, it is estimated, nearly 3,000 people attended.

This sum brings the fund, which was launched 10 years ago, to £9,250, leaving £5,750 to be raised to attain the target figure of £15,000, which is the estimated cost of the chapel after allowing for a saving of some £10,000 on the building cost by work which will be put in by the boys of the school themselves.

When the fete was opened by Gilbert Harding, of B.B.C. fame [ a popular TV personality well-known for his outspoken views], the "quad" where the brief opening ceremony was held, the corridors around it, and every vantage point which commanded a view were crowded to capacity by parents, relatives, friends of the school, Old Boys and pupils.

The Headmaster (Mr. N. R. Bradshaw), introducing Mr. Harding, and thanking him for coming, remarked jocularly that they had just lunched together, and he had found that Mr. Harding was quite tame.

Mr. Harding, who had a tremendous reception, confessed at once that he was somewhat at a loss to know what to say. He felt more at home in a studio with only a few people present, than being looked at by a very large crowd. After relating some amusing anecdotes that drew a good laugh, he turned in more serious vein to wish the fete every success. It was a remarkably fine idea to want to build a chapel, specially after two wars in which so many things had been destroyed. He recalled that after the 1914-18-war much was heard about his country being the spiritual home of the four freedoms.

Of all the freedoms, the most important was freedom from ignorance. From this, and from the follies that arose from it the schools could relieve us; it was their aim.

"If we examine our fellow-men who live in this world that we inhabit and think that because perhaps their noses are shaped differently from ours, their skins are of a different colour, or the creed they have faith in is different, and think that because of that we are better than them, then we share the ignorance that is all around us."

"But if we can build a chapel here and when we are in it can sing 'All people that on earth do dwell,' and really mean what we sing, then we shall have contributed something to the freedom from ignorance."


As soon as the formal opening ceremony was over, the crowd surged into the assembly hall where the stalls exhibited an alluring display of bargains of every kind for sale, thanks largely to the co-operation of parents and friends of the school who had contributed generously to their contents. The boys, too, had played their part, for many articles made in the school workshop were to be seen on the craftwork stall.

Sideshows and competitions held in the classrooms provided "all the fun of the fair" and soon livened up as the crowds emerged from the hall to explore all the many attractions that were offered.

Bowling for a pig, a guinea-pig derby, throwing a ball in a bucket, candle lighting, fortune telling and a spinning jenny were but a few of the side-shows, while on the school field a rifle range, kicking the rugger ball, and topping the topper were in full swing.

In the gymnasmm a cinema performance, given with the school projector, drew crowded houses throughout the afternoon.

Yet another attraction, a rugby match between the school fifteen and Skinner's School lst XV from Tunbridge Wells drew a crowd of about 500 spectators to the playing field, while many more watched the game from classroom windows. A win for the home side by 14 pts. to nil was a popular victory. After tea, the unsold articles from the stalls were auctioned by Mr. I. Wycherley. The gymnasium, no longer a gymnasium, was used for a whist drive conducted by Mr. F W. Fuller, of Uckfield. A notable day concluded with a dance in the assembly hall which was attended by over 250 people, who enjoyed a full programme to the music of Roy Robinson's Sextet, a Brighton band. Mr. W. M. Gourlay was M.C.

Over £100 was taken at the gate by the sale of tickets and programmes, £113 by competitions and side-shows, over £200 at the stalls, £30 at the dance, £15 at the whist drive, £16 at the cinema and £11 by the barrel-organ.

This outstanding successful effort was organised by a committee of parents and staff, with the assistance of about 200 boys of the school, and was the outcome of months of careful planning.

Many parents and pupils assisted the staff in running the stalls and sideshows, and in other ways. The boys played a great part in selling tickets in advance. As co-operative effort by headmaster, staff, pupils and parents, it was a model example of self-help.

With acknowledgements to the "SUSSEX EXPRESS & COUNTY HERALD".