Saturday 23rd September dawned clear and fair. By 06:00 there was a brightness in the sky that augured well. Finally, after over 18 months of warming up, plotting, asking questions, making suggestions and low-down begging, the Fair was happening. Driving onto the misty field my family – all dragooned into service – were at once joined by the intrepid Solomon Sutton (10Ridgeway) who had cycled in to be with us from 07:00 in the morning. As the hours to the Fair ticked by we were joined by more and more helpers; Mrs Hurry arrived dressed as Queen Elizabeth I which everyone enjoyed hugely and numerous students came in full costume, too, including Isaac McDonald (10Wilson) and Emily Frank (10Ridgeway) who carried off the student costume prize.
The arrival of Wobbles the sheep with 40 bales of straw thanks to the wonderful Mariella Eade (10Wilson) and her father was hugely exciting and very distracting. Tables were set up, gazebos pitched, bunting distributed liberally and the turnip shy swung into operation. By 10:30 we had in place over 30 stalls – Nomad Pizza, The Crafty BisHop, Jumping Jacks (with their bouncy castle, ‘splat the rat’, foam jousting and sling shot activities), two archery instructors from Bowstrings Archery with all their kit (former Luffa student and parent), Paul Fuller - the axe throwing instructor, and the brilliant Ben Fraser – fire eater, juggler and entertainer.
By 11am, there was a hum of activity with folk starting to arrive and Richard Plowman – Chichester’s wonderful town crier – officially declared the Fair open. The sun shone gloriously and a warm, friendly atmosphere descended. People arrived in a gentle stream, expecting to enjoy themselves and did just that. It was what I call ‘slow’ fun. People were lingering and chatting at the stalls, exploring what was available, eating (very inauthentic, but delicious) pizza and the atmosphere was wonderful.
There were so many people who contributed to the Fair going ahead (above and beyond what anyone might reasonably expect) it would be impossible to list them all, but profound thanks must go to so many Latin and Ancient Greek students and members of 9Otter who generously gave their time running stalls, setting up and clearing away, Mrs Fowles and her whole family, Mrs Hurry and her family, Mrs Haywood for doing the heavy lifting – in every sense, Mr McDonald for allowing himself to be dragged into helping for the whole day and his unlooked for genius at disassembling the marquee, the astonishingly talented Mrs Pollock and her wonderful family, Mr Vann for his valiant work at the Stocks, Mr Bravo, Mr Hindman and the tireless Jessica Smith (10Burrows) who served drinks all day, Mrs Gleeson for dealing with money so magnificently, Mrs Cooke for all the media work and enticing so many wonderful people to join in, Mr and Mrs Marshall who rewarded their quoits players with vegetable prizes, and so many others.
The money raised has already been given to the PFA to support their crucial work supporting our students.
As for me, I am looking forward to colleagues no longer looking nervous when I say hello!
Ms C Barnett, Teacher of Classical Civilisation & Latin