COLUMNIST: Mike Mendoza bids farewell

HELLO and goodbye, as this is my final Out and About column as chairman of Adur.

It’s been a great time for my wife Jennifer and myself, as we dedicated ourselves to the Adur district for the past 13 months.

We had the great honour of attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace, along with the Worthing mayor. The entire day was very exciting as we watched the clouds coming and going, wondering if it was going to rain.

As we walked through the famous gates of the Palace, through the main house to the gardens, we were in awe of the spectacle in front of us. There was 7,500 guests at the party (if I had seven in my own garden it would be full!), everyone was fed and watered in good time before the fanfare began.

The National Anthem played, the Beefeaters appeared from the great double doors that open on to the balcony overlooking the lawns and they marched majestically on to the terrace, standing to attention as the Queen suddenly appeared.

Every one of the guests stood spellbound as Her Majesty walked forward, and then it happened…the sky went black and the heavens opened! Everyone was getting soaked, but did not move from their space in case they did not get a good glimpse of the Queen, who incidentally walked along holding her own umbrella, made of clear plastic and fitted over her head.

We were thrilled that we also saw Prince Phillip, who spoke to us, asking where our chains are from and, actually, he knew exactly where Adur was. We saw Prince Charles and Camilla, plus Prince Edward and Sophie and the Duke and Duchess of Kent. That day would without doubt go down as one of the best days of our term.

For the third time in three years, I opened the Lions’ Donkey Derby in Buckingham Park. The weather was brilliant, which assured an excellent attendance.

This is always a wonderful event with a good display of classic cars, some of which brought back some great memories.

There was a lot of stalls, many of who were representing local charities, plus displays of gymnastics and karate. There was, of course, the donkey rides and donkey races. It really was a lovely day, which hopefully raised a lot of money for this quite amazing group of dedicated people.

I attended a rather unusual event at the Shoreham Centre on Friday and that was a ‘ladies’ night in aid of St Barnabas House hospice. The centre was packed as the audience was entertained by a drag artist and two male strippers. I was pleased that I was not the only male in the audience! There was an excellent auction and raffle that raised a considerable sum of money for the charity.

There was a little controversy over the past few days about a movie being shot at Shoreham Airport and the use of Nazi flags. The reason for the concern was the timing. The flags were on show just 24 hours prior to the D-Day commemorations, which many felt was insensitive. The flags were removed in time for the big day.

Yesterday (Wednesday) saw the re-dedication of the Shoreham Airport Community Memorial. The memorial, installed by Gerald Spicer in 1997, is now managed and maintained as a public amenity by a voluntary board of trustees.

The memorial is managed as a not-for-profit enterprise and all funds will be used to maintain the site. Thanks to generous donations and sponsorship from local companies and individuals, as well as the airport owners and operators, the site has been refurbished and improved.

The B26 propeller has had a complete overhaul to bring it back to pristine condition. There is a paved walkway round the memorial allowing ease of access for all. Two wooden planters are sited each side of the south face and filled with appropriate plants during the different seasons. Brian Brown’s memorial stone has been re-sited within the memorial and a similar stone for Don Bean MBE (founder and organiser of Shoreham Airshow) has been placed on site.

Its now farewell from me and I hope to see you all again soon.