Playbus, Fast Freddie and the Southgate paddling pool

Bewbush Playbus pirates in 1992 SUS-170822-162018001
Bewbush Playbus pirates in 1992 SUS-170822-162018001

Hands up who used to spend the summer holidays splashing around in the paddling pool at Southgate Playing Field.

It wasn’t very deep and there were times the water looked a little suspect but many fun hours were passed there.

Fast Freddie outside Our Price, Crawley, in 1992 SUS-170822-162106001

Fast Freddie outside Our Price, Crawley, in 1992 SUS-170822-162106001

It was also a target for spoilsport vandals. When part of it was damaged in 1992, Crawley Borough Council came up with a neat idea – rather than closing the whole thing for repairs, they turned the damaged half into a beach. Clever!

Pictured is the council’s recreation chairman, Dave Young, building sand castles with some of the children.

Then there was Fast Freddie – remember him? As plain old Fred Horton, he was a pupil at The Sarah Robinson Secondary School, in Ifield, who went on to be a bricklayer.

But he was a music man at heart and, with his band, Fast Freddie and the Fingertips, he went from gigging at venues such as the Apple Tree, West Green, in the 1980s to touring with Cher in 1990.

Southgate paddling pool re-opened after being vandalised in 1992 SUS-170822-162054001

Southgate paddling pool re-opened after being vandalised in 1992 SUS-170822-162054001

There was nothing so glamorous in this picture, published in 1992. Freddie and the band performed a gig at the opening of Our Price, in County Mall.

Another staple of Crawley life which is much-missed was the Bewbush Playbus. Who knew an old double-decker could be so much fun!

The bunch of scoundrels in our picture weren’t really pirates – you probably guessed that – but they were taking part in a pirate-themed playscheme at the Playbus, which included a treasure hunt.

Incidentally, Playbus regular Sue Wickstead published a book called simply Bewbush Playbus, which is available from Amazon.

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