What do David Attenborough, Chuck Berry, Hugh Hefner and The Queen have in common?
They were all born in 1926.
While the 60th birthdays of three of them passed unnoticed in Crawley, young and old alike raised a glass to Her Majesty when she became the most famous pensioner in the land.
Take the ladies and gents of the Northgate Senior Citizens’ Club. Dressed in their best, they were led in a toast by founder member, Mrs Dorothy Welfare.
At the other end of the age range, 10 youngsters were treated to burgers and milk shakes at Wimpy, in The Martlets, after winning a colouring competition which saw them produce birthday cards deemed ‘fit for a Queen’.
Wimpy staff Babs, Martin and Ali were pictured in the Observer with winners Danny George, Darren Coomber, Amy Sharman, Emma Hobb, Kelly Stansfield, Edward Jaspers, Adam Clough, Guy Clough, Karen Gorecki and Jo-Ann D’Costa.
The Queen’s birthday wasn’t the only cause for celebration in Crawley.
Desmond Anderson School provided some positive educational news amid months of industrial action by teachers.
After undergoing a week-long inspection, the school had been given top marks, though it took almost a year for inspectors to compile their report. No wonder headteacher Peter Wright was grinning in the photograph – the tension must have been unbearable!
He told the Observer that being placed under the microscope for a week had been nerve-wracking but worthwhile, adding: “The staff felt it was some recognition of the things we have achieved, coming especially in the climate where so much criticism seems to have been laid at the teachers’ door.”
That criticism came on the back of industrial actions by teachers stretching back more than a year, as they demanded a pay rise of at least £1,200 per year.
At the height of the action, an estimated 2,000 schools were closing all over the country, while a further 20,000 more were affected in some way.
The strikes only ended in 1987, by which time public support was waning and people had lost a lot of respect for the teachers and their cause.
Can anyone name any of the Desmond Anderson staff and children in the picture? What are they up to now?
There was more good news over in Ifield, where a tuneful bunch of girls had raised £100 for the Crawley branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The girls of the 1st Ifield Brownies and 2nd Ifield Guides raised the money singing Christmas carols and presented the cheque to branch secretary Bill Douglas, who was accompanied by his dog Zoe.
The girls told the Observer they had no intention of stopping at £100 and planned to carry on fundraising until they had enough money to name a guide dog. Can anyone name any of the girls in the picture and does anyone know if they reached their target?
Ending on a somewhat quirky note, Pease Pottage gained its first time traveller in 1986 – kind of. The BBC announced Bonnie Langford had been cast as the latest assistant in Doctor Who, and she was a computer programmer from the village.
Of course, neither fact was mentioned again after Bonnie’s first episode!
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