Bobservation No. 116: Old Friends

Old Friends from Fulking
I suppose having moved from Fulking to Henfield a year and a half ago it is always a great pleasure to see old friends from Fulking. Nick Hughes joined us for a coffee one morning and looked as fit as ever, now resident in Hove and the owner of a glorious 55 year old bright yellow Porsche 911! Jill Bremer popped in and seems to be making the best of widowhood in Devon, she swims in the sea most days and is very involved in a ladies rowing boat! We had a pub lunch with Anthony Kenney who is well and living in Ovingdean where he busies himself in village matters! Just a stone’s throw from us Jim and Carolyn Sapsted have made a very happy move to Henfield. We regularly see Samantha Leader who has joined Henfield Parish Council and is still a powerhouse of energy. The logic of our move from Fulking to Henfield was supported by a visit to see the bluebells at Furzefield which we have passed to Rich, Sarah and Archie Brett-Sheridan. Their custodianship of this unique property is as good as anything we could have wished for and they will prove to be a great asset to Fulking.

Julia Peckham R.I.P.
Just to report the passing away of Julia on 23 April after a relatively short battle with cancer. Although not resident in Fulking, Julia was a very good friend of the village. She and her husband Richard were involved in the Annual Village Fair, the Choir and Christmas arrangements at St Andrews as well as putting on several fundraising plays. I well remember the hilarious Punch & Judy she put on at the fair some years ago. After Richard’s death from Motor Neurone Disease she became very involved in the care of victims of MND, as well as fund raising really substantial amounts for research into this, at present, incurable nightmare. A very talented actor and great friend. Oh! How we will miss her.

Interested Readers
I have absolutely no idea how many of you read Bobservation each month and it would assist me in making a decision whether to continue blathering away if you would you kindly e-mail me at just saying ‘I read you’ if you do. Thanks, Bob.

Bobservation No. 107: Gill Milner RIP

Gill Milner
Another passing away of a much loved villager. Gill had lived at the Old Post Office for many years and had operated the shop there in the days when Fulking had a shop! More recently her health had made it necessary for her to join family in Sheffield but before going she had become a stalwart of the Toddlers Group and a highly respected member of the Quotations Group. The last couple of years have been sad ones with villagers passing away. We will miss you Gill.

Fulking Fair 2023
Having moved the fair to a new location at Long Clays field on the Edburton Road it was always going to be very much a trial and error year.  Driven by Sally’s tremendous enthusiasm and with dedicated support from the rest of the committee, a very acceptable fair evolved. The weather stayed dry, but the wind gave rise to quite a few problems and, it is fair to say, did have a detrimental effect on the event as many as one in three stallholders crying off. Despite all this the fair was a success. The food, drinks, music, demonstrations, tombola, tug of war, children’s games, stalls, donations, parking, access, direction signs all worked very well. And to top it all, Ann Bolton of RSPCA reports that they had a most successful day. Wherever the fair is held it will always be dependant on good summer weather and so I was left with the impression that Long Clays is worth another go in 2024, but with strict control over the placement of stalls and demonstrations. The annual fair brings villagers together better than any other event and justifies the effort purely on social grounds. Early unconfirmed reports indicate a surplus of around £1000 on the day. One special thank you to the Steel Tribe Band for putting on such a foot stomping performance, please come back next year.

Bobservation No. 106: Anne Hind RIP

Anne Hind
Sadly there is another village death to report, adding to the other villagers who have passed away during the last twelve months. Anne Hind, such an attractive and charming lady, was taken by emergency to hospital but it was not possible to save her. She was of no great age and the shock to her husband Mark must have been quite horrific. I am sure everyone one who knew her was greatly saddened by her passing.

Fulking Fair
The annual fair on Sunday 16 July from midday till 5pm is being driven along by the Chair of the Social Committee, Sally Brownie, and given decent weather will be a tremendous local attraction. Centre stage will be RSPCA fun dog show and support will come from some interesting live music with Henfield Ukulele band, the Steel tribe band, Tenderhooks and The Pycombe PV choir, many entertaining stalls selling teas and homemade cakes, plants, flowers, jewellery, canine treats accessories and training, many children’s games and interests, Tug of War, a large array of food stalls including the Shepherd & Dog bar and BBQ, Indian Home cooking, crepes, pizzas, hot dogs, Ice cream, Fudge, pies, bakeries. In addition to all this a mammoth bottle Tombola. The new location at Long Clays on the Edburton road with adjacent parking will save visitors the walk from one end of the village to the fairground. There will be demonstrations and displays by Sustainable Henfield 2030, Henfield Spinners & weavers, Tottington Woodlanders, HART, hedgelaying, Woodland Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust and more.

Bobservation No. 105: Fulking Fair 2023

Fulking Fair
This year’s fair will, as usual, be centred on the RSPCA fun dog show. In addition there will be childrens games, tattoo face painting, a competition, races and Tug of War. Food will include Crepes, Fudge, BBQ, Hot dogs, Pies, Bakeries, Pizzas, Ice Cream, Cakes, Biltong, Fresh fruit, Hot caramelized sandwiches, Homemade cakes, Preserves, Indian home cooking. Liquid refreshment by the Shepherd & Dog, teas, coffees, beers & wines, cocktails. Demonstrations by HART, Woodland Trust, hedgelaying, woodworking, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Henfield spinners & weavers. Music by Tenderhooks, Henfield Ukulele band, Pyecombe Choir. Doggie things like pet portraits, dog collars, dog & pet food, dog training. Sales stalls including childrens books, jewellery, leatherwork, bric a brac, caps & hats, ladies clothing, cards & gifts, flowers. Information from Fulking Parish Council, Sustainable Henfield 2030. AND an exceptional TOMBOLA to win great value prizes.

Ok! So I know we are missing a couple of F-16 fighters and a troop of Chieftain tanks but you can’t say we didn’t try!!

All of this takes a number of volunteers to make it work in an acceptable manner. If you have not already done so please contact Sally Brownie to see what you can do to help.

Charmayne Diamond RIP

Charmayne Diamond
Alas! What a rotten year we have just had and now more news of another ex- Fulking villager who has passed away. Charmayne was a most enthusiastic villager and greatly enlivened the annual Call my Bluff wine quizzes. I was fortunate enough to be sitting in the Theatre Royal in Brighton with her and Lee on the evening when the Argus award for ‘Best Community event in Sussex’ was awarded to Fulking for the Fair and the three of us went on stage to receive the award. She was so excited. This could only have been achieved with her generosity in running the Dog Show and letting us use her two fields adjacent to her house for the fair. I hope it would not be incorrect to say she was genuinely one of those ‘larger than life’ people who very occasionally cross one’s path. Goodbye Charm!

Bob Rowland

Bobservation No. 102: Good Fortune

Fingers of God - sun shining through cloudGood Fortune
With the news of the Turkish earthquake and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the proximity of Spring is a very good time to reflect on the good fortune of those who live in the Downland villages. It is only by  accident and luck of the draw that we have come to enjoy the stability and peace of the South Downs. Even though I am now living in Henfield my attachment to Fulking is undiminished and I find a new wave of enthusiasm emanating from the Fulking Social Committee under the leadership of Sally Brownie. I like to think that I continued where Nick and Jill left off and have now successfully passed the baton to Sally. These things do not just happen; they require a great deal of time and thought to make them succeed. Without like minded support from the Committee nothing would be possible.

Fulking Fair 2023
Inviting stallholders to the fair and letting them have a free pitch with a voluntary donation, based on success, usually means being inundated with offers. This year is quite different and the response has been very disappointing. Please rack your brains for anyone you know who would like a pitch for Fulking Fair at Perching Sands Farm, Sunday 16 July and let me or Sally know.

Bobservation No. 101: Joyce Harris RIP

Finger post highlighting Paythorne Farm

Joyce Harris
Another Fulking village stalwart departed. Joyce and her late husband Brian were leading lights in the village and at St Andrews for many years. Her determined goodwill led the ‘church mice’ and she was a dedicated parishioner who was greatly missed when she became unable to participate due to ill health. Very recent years have seen a passing away of many of the older villagers and it is up to the present generation to fill their shoes. Joyce’s funeral will be at St Andrews on Friday, 24 February at 11am.

Fulking Social Committee
Sally has certainly kicked off the New Year positively with organising the monthly Thursday evening get-together. It is in the village hall for villagers from the local Downland parishes. Turnout for the first one was very encouraging as were the ideas put forward. There is little doubt that this getting together is very welcome particularly for newcomers. Let’s hope that action matches the enthusiasm.

Fulking Fair 2023
I am delighted to have been asked to start off the organisation of this year’s fair which will be on Sunday July 16. It will move, together with vehicle parking from the North Town Field to Perching Manor Farm. Many thanks to David and Angela for making this possible. It is hoped that the additional space will make the organisation simpler and more profitable. There should certainly be room for as many stalls and games as we can get. Over the next months volunteers are going to be very much sought after. RSPCA fun dog show will again be the focus. If you would like a pitch contact me at

Bobservation No. 96: Continuation

Bluebells at Furzefield
Farewell to Fulking
As I write this I feel as though I am in another world! After thirty years of quite demanding work being custodians at Furzefield of a unique three acres of oak and hazel woodland and a glorious spread of bluebells in spring, we have moved to a delightful bungalow in Henfield. Moving was not the big wrench  we expected, just very hard work. Rich, Sarah and Archie will be our very dedicated successors.
A tremendous and very moving farewell was our great good fortune; held in the village hall attended by so many village friends who I dare not name for fear of leaving someone out! Sufficient to say, I was never able to encourage a Social Committee meeting of that size!  The leaving gift was quite amazingly generous and we were both very humbled by it. Many, many thanks to all of you. I fear my few words of thanks at the time turned into something of a hopeless drivel rather like recent question times in the House of Commons.
If only to achieve my century it has been suggested that I might continue with Bobservation a little while longer, which pleasure I hope you will grant me.

Fulking Fair 2022
Perhaps not quite as exciting as it can be because of the extreme heat and the need for new input. The future will be very well driven by Sally and her team with lots of new ideas. Please give her all the support she will need. Fulking Fair deserves to be protected, it has become a great local event.

Bobservation No. 95: BobsOvation

Well finally you are going to get rid of me! Except I would love to score a century of Bobservations and perhaps we can find a way so I can do that. Pam & I will be moving house to Henfield on 12 August. Fulking has been the centre of our world for 30 years now. Furzefield has given us many happy hours, gardening , conservation and entertaining and our successors Rich, Sarah, Archie and Barnsley will be ideal custodians of the bluebells, badgers and everything else, and I know very good additions to the Fulking social scene. It is this scene that I am going to miss a lot. Over the years Fulking has provided a social life and hobby that it would have been very hard to find anywhere else in the world. I have so many happy memories of wonderful people and great times particularly, I suppose, the Call my Bluff quizzes and of course the annual Fulking Fair (see below!).

Fulking Fair
Well! we had the 2022 Fulking Fair and got perfect summer weather and the RSPCA fun dog show found some shade under the trees. Due to exceptional teamwork we managed to have a truly wonderful afternoon. I think we all learnt a little about each other and I am sure next year we can make some improvements but that happens every time! I just hope you will let me be involved in some way even though I will no longer be a resident of this wonderful (secular!) parish.

Bobservation No. 94: Mick Gaule RIP

What a very touching send off for Mick when we toasted his last journey from the balcony of the Shepherd & Dog. He was one of the very last oldies who had lived in Fulking most or all of their lives. Such a lovely gentleman and I think would like to be remembered as a great ferreter!.

Fulking Fair
With only three weeks to go until Fulking Fair 2022 I thought it might be of interest if I gave you an idea of how many villagers are involved in specific contributions of their time. I set out below in no particular order, those who are helping, with apologies to anyone who I have left out: Geoff & Jenny Shepherd & Dog bar, Tina music, Clive BBQ, Rosemary & Mick Tombola, Linda Terry Danny & Adrian parking, Sally First aid BBQ  Art Advertising Flyer Samantha Pitch set-up and allocation, Tricia Teas & Cakes and First aid, Carol Treasurer, Myriam & Bea Henna Tattoo painting, Angela Children’s games, Stuart & Nick Traffic Control, Jen Donation Box, Chris Art, Karen Social Media advertising, Laurence Simon & family Traffic  and Fair advertising signs, Jenny & Julian Electricity, George & Sarah Use of field, AND in addition to our homegrown BBQ and entertainment we will have the RSPCA fun dog show and food from Rushfields’ Pies, Safari Pizzas, Indulgent Ice Cream, Rob Padley’s Coffee & On the Hoof  Moroccan Kebabs. Stalls will be displays by the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Central Sussex Beekeepers, Sustainable Henfield 2030.  There will be many stalls along the Street and in the North Town Field with games and products for sale but please remember TEAS & CAKES in the village hall, The best ever BOTTLE TOMBOLA in the field, Shepherd & Dog bar and Clive Miller’s BBQ. All donations and any surplus from the Fair are in aid of the Village Hall.