Waiting for Kajagoogoo - unsuspecting Crawley faces from 1980

The 1980s are often looked on as the embarrassing uncle of the decades.

All that hair spray, eyeliner, flamboyant blouses and back-combing left many a father wondering what had become of his little boy - and what was wrong with a good old-fashioned ‘short back and sides’?



They say if you remember the 1960s you weren’t really there – well, if you remember the 1980s you are really not trying hard enough to forget. It was an odd decade.

These photos were taken from the Crawley Observer archive from January and February 1980. You will notice most of the people are smiling happily – little did they know, the likes of Kajagoogoo, rah-rah skirts and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace lay in their future. Poor devils.

The possibility of expansion at Gatwick was making headlines – nothing changes – and there was a demonstration outside the town hall as a public enquiry into plans to build a second Terminal was launched.

People from all over Sussex and Surrey joined the demonstration, drawing up in cars bearing stickers declaring ‘Back GACC’ and ‘No Heathrow At Gatwick’.

There were placards declaring ‘Gatwick Is A Terminal Disease’ and ‘BAA Killed Lowfield Heath’. There were even a few women wearing T-shirts calling for ‘No Second Boob At Gatwick’!

The enquiry was chaired by Mr John Newey QC, who was given a rousing reception by the demonstrators until he essentially told them to keep the noise down and let him do his job.

The arguments in favour of the Terminal were exactly the same as today’s arguments for a second runway - increasing passenger numbers and the potential for new jobs.

Inside the town hall, a motion from the Conservatives calling on the council to oppose the building of a new Terminal had been voted down

The Tories said they weren’t anti-airport just anti-too-much-growth. They were worried the number of passengers using Gatwick would rise to 25 million a year if a new Terminal was built.

As we all know, the Terminal was built and the airport now serves a whopping 38 million people a year.

While the Gatwick protests were hogging most of the headlines, elsewhere a call went out for people to help convert what would become the Bewbush Playbus.

The bus, which used to trundle along the seafront at Eastbourne, was bought by the National Girl Guides Association with Jubilee Fund money and was one of four projects in the area.

The playbus went on to become one of the most popular scheme in town.

In February, five cadets from Crawley’s St John Ambulance Brigade won the Hinkley Challenge Cup in a community first-aid competition.

They were Sgt Andrew Gentry, Sgt Andrew Kirk, Cpl Tony Vitler, Cpl Karl Powell and Cadet Ian Schollar.

Tony Vitler also won the Trotter Cup for being the cadet who earned the most marks.

The cadets weren’t the only boys to win an award. Four lads from the 4th Worth Scouts won the Sgt Sutton orienteering hike.

They were: Stephen MacLagen, David Warnick, Russell Tomkins and Tim Cole.

Meanwhile, children from Bishop Bell School were presented with their cycling proficiency test certificates by Crawley mayor John Mortimer.

Do you recognise anyone in these pictures?

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