It was evident that an enormous amount of hard work went into arranging the Open Day at the house and gardens of Sedgwick Park, again by kind permission of the owners John & Clare Davison. Organized by the committee, under the chairmanship of Roy Taylor, the annual event raised over £5000.00 for the Parish Churches of Nuthurst. This was a splendid result, in spite of the weather trying to dampen the visitors’ enthusiasm with a shower or two!
Most importantly, excellent catering was provided, with quality food for lunches and snacks. Tables and chairs were arranged on the terrace and in the grand panelled drawing room. Cream teas were served in the dining room and to complete the refreshments, big Dave brought a licensed bar all the way from The Black Horse to the hallway. All proved very popular.
Events were staged on the lawn in front of the house throughout the afternoon. The entertainment started with a display of Japanese Swordsmanship, ably provided by Shin Ichi Do of Horsham. The children of St Andrew’s School and their Musical Entertainment interlude swiftly followed this. Later in the afternoon the Elsden School of Dancing ably demonstrated their talent, followed by a Gymnastic Display by Horsham Gymnastics Club. The essential PA system provided by Brindle Electronics brought us music and commentary. Further attractions in the house included a splendid Art Exhibition and Sale with Art Challenge, and Photography Exhibition/Competition. What an amazing amount of local talent, including junior and children’s exhibits! These exhibitions obviously took a lot of work to arrange but hopefully rewarded by the interest shown, and impact of the material presented. Meanwhile, for the more sporty visitors, there was an opportunity to buy some quality sportswear from the shop in the entrance hall.
In front of the house, one of the most popular sites was undoubtedly the Home Made Cake stall, clocking up sales of over 100 large cakes by mid afternoon. Nearby were stalls with Roger and Denise Reed’s Ice Cream, Horsham Ladies Circle’s Candy Floss, Hot Dogs and Soft Drinks amongst others.
A handsome row of pristine Vintage and Classic Cars stood majestic for the mechanically minded enthusiasts, and not far away was Mike Clarke with his two seater plane, yes, Aeroplane on the grass! A very interesting item to find on the front lawn! For the railway buffs, Aidan, Nikki and Katie Flavell were giving rides on the Miniature Steam Train, besides decorating some youngsters with Face Painting. To complete the choices, Lauren Gould with her pony offered Pony Rides and Jamie Edmonds was there with Tractor and Trailer Rides. Unfortunately the weather was not clement enough for the appearance of the hot air balloon this year.
In between the serious engineering of cars, trains and planes (no mention of boats please!) were numerous stalls including Cork Tombola, John Veitch’s Etched Glass, Sarah Russell’s Pots and Pansies, the Grand Raffle, the Church Stall, Treasure Hunt, Guess Teddy’s Name, Guess Sweets in a Jar, Aunt Sally, sales of Plants, Books and Bric-a-Brac, with apologies to any others not mentioned by name.
For the physically fit, participation in Mini Tennis on the Coach House Court, enabled by Michelle Collins, or a jump on the Bouncy Castle, were amongst ways of using up excess energy. On the lawn one was invited to participate in a gentle game of Croquet, whilst for even more sedate pleasures, a leisurely walk in the gardens and grounds were the order of the day. The views of the South Downs from here are legendary, although the weather was not at its best for that pursuit today. It is very pleasing to see the splendid formal gardens being lovingly restored and cared for, and the water features would have been a challenge to Ms Dimmock, I feel? It was revealed that the main formal pond was only returned to its working glory in the 24 hours preceding the Open Day. Well done! The grounds and garden are truly resplendent this year.
I believe the afternoon was considered a great success, and the hundreds of visitors, including local MP Francis Maude, were a sure testimony to the Open Day’s standing in Horsham’s social calendar. Thanks are due to the local businesses that sponsored the event in many ways, including donations of goods and advertising revenue. Thanks must also be due to the numerous local organisations and individuals that played a part in the voluntary manpower required to make things run smoothly, from car parking to washing up, sign making to cake making.
A really worthwhile event on many levels, and we look forward to next year, but with more sunshine please!
Derek Bradham 19th May 03 (pictures Jean Griffin)
More Pictures here!