Crowds of Henfield residents and visitors flocked to Henfield Common on Sunday 16 September for the rededication of the Memorial Field and to enjoy a festival of sport, food and music in celebration of the newly re-laid sports pitches.
The field was re-dedicated by Revd. Paul Doick with Malcolm Eastwood, Chairman of Henfield Parish Council, leading the ceremony. Cllr Mike Morgan (on behalf of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal) read the names of all the Henfield men who lost their lives in conflicts. The Union Flag covering the stone was unveiled once again, as it had been in 1950.
Two schoolchildren from St Peter’s CE Primary School, Lola George and William Clark helped to lift the Union Flag to unveil the stone, alongside Annette Parsons, who unveiled the newly-laid stone back in 1950 with Peter Collins. Peter has since passed away and his brother, Pat, took the honour in his place. The last post and Reveille sounded and the Standard was lowered as Henfield once again paid their respects with two minutes silence.
After the formalities, the fun began! The sun was shining as children enjoyed games on the field, with traditional sack and egg & spoon races from Henfield Guides and Matt at Get Fit. Football skills and the Beat the Goalie zone organised by Henfield Football Club tested local players skills to their limits and a mystery trail through the woods organised by Henfield Joggers bamboozled competitors. Diamond Cricket was being displayed and taught by members of Henfield Cricket Club colts.
Olympian Sally Gunnell took a tour of the memorial field to see the various sports and enjoyed chatting to the clubs and groups, especially Henfield Joggers who reminisced about when Sally last met the members after the New York Marathon, back in 1996! Later she was interviewed by Paul Samrah, who spoke to Sally about her motivations and how she reached the top of her discipline with Olympic Gold in Barcelona 1992 as well as World, Commonwealth and European titles. Malcolm Eastwood presented Sally with a bouquet of flowers.
Crowds enjoyed street food and drink from various local suppliers, stalls and vendors as well as a barbie from the Free Church volunteers and tea and cake from Wild Violets WI. Henfield Cricket Club bar was kept incredibly busy all afternoon.
As the sun went down on a perfect village afternoon we were played out by local band Sonic Deluxe. Enormous thanks go to Henfield Parish Council, not only for instigating a fantastic community day but for the months of hard work to create the perfect new playing field for the village. Thanks also to volunteers from The Henfield Community Partnership who organised the Street Food festival and other logistics of the day, this was a group effort which showed what can be achieved when local clubs and groups work together, including Henfield Cricket Club, Henfield Football Club, Henfield Guides, Henfield Joggers, Henfield Lions, HART, Henfield Wild Violets, Henfield Free Church and St Peter’s Church. Thanks also to the event’s generous sponsor, Stoba Group UK.