Pancakes in the sun, building a nursery, and toddler shortage

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Pancakes are good for one thing and one thing only – chucking in the air while running a race clutching a frying pan.

Some strange folk say you can eat them as well but, given the number of times they have to be scooped up from the ground during said race, you’d have to be really hungry to do so...

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In 1990, there were pancakes flying all over the place in Queens Square when schools and businesses took part in an afternoon of fundraising races in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice.

The winner of the Shrove Tuesday spectacular’s junior race was Matthew Lethbridge, of Thomas Bennett Community College, who beat off fierce competition from contestants from Hazelwick, St Wilfrid’s, Holy Trinity and Ifield Community College.

Among the grown-ups, first place went to Mike Brownley, of Gatwick Penta, who left Xpert Recruitment, Boots, Marks & Spencer and APV Vent Axia struggling to keep up.

The wooden spoon went to the team from the Crawley Observer – but since they organised the event, they were simply being sporting. Probably...

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While the racers were tackling the issue of how to make a good pancake batter, elsewhere in Crawley nursery owners faced a much different problem – a shortage of toddlers.

Strange as it may seem, there were not enough three-to-five-year-olds to fill all the town’s nurseries in 1990, with Pound Hill and Furnace Green particularly badly affected.

The problem was more and more schools were taking in children at the age of four, rather than five, and more and more private nurseries were opening.

Our picture shows the children of Jubilee Playgroup, in Knepp Close – all five of them – who didn’t appear to be too put out by the dwindling number of playmates.

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Nurseries were on the minds of students at Thomas Bennett Community College, but this time there was no shortage of numbers.

Eleven students and two teachers raised £20,000 before travelling to the slum village Buldano, in India, where they spent two weeks building a nursery from scratch.

It was certainly tough going, with the group labouring seven hours a day on a building site before bedding down under the stars with rats and snakes for company.

Sixth-former Helen Mills said: “It was exhausting. Most of us fell ill and few of us managed to keep working every day. But I’d do it again any day. It was so fulfilling to see something come out of nothing and the smiling faces of the Indian children who the nursery was for.”

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Do you recognise any of the people in these photos?

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