COLUMN: Dozy’s Rambles on Shoreham’s big events

S358080H14 Some of the thousands at Shoreham Airshow
S358080H14 Some of the thousands at Shoreham Airshow

MONDAY morning’s weather forecast was telling me that we are heading back to a heatwave for September.

So, as a sun lover, I woke up, threw a pair of shorts on and a summer top, made a coffee, picked up my daily newspapers, grabbed a telephone and headed outside to the garden to sit and relax, read the papers and decide what to do for the rest of the day!

Oh dear…dark clouds above and a drizzle of rain. Just how do you plan for the British summer?

I am lucky that in my job I can wear just about anything I want and when appearing in front of camera to read the news, or presenting the newspaper review show on Latest TV, I can still be wearing a pair of shorts, but also wearing a shirt and jacket, as the viewers do not see my legs.

The past few weeks we have been so lucky in the district with some pretty amazing events and weather to match, so I guess I can’t complain too much about a bit of rain.

Those events have brought thousands of people into the area and I must pay tribute to the many hundreds of residents who have done so much to make sure that Shoreham, in particular, is shown in the best possible light.

Almost all those who helped and took part in Shoreham RiverFest and Shoreham Airshow did so with no reward whatsoever, apart from the joy of seeing so many enjoying the events.

RiverFest, first thought of by Shoreham publican James Parker, with my help (via the council) last year, saw the first full event realising James’ dream of celebrating the river that runs through our town.

We wanted to kick it off, to test the water (no pun intended), to see if this was the sort of event people wanted, and goodness me, for a first attempt, it went brilliantly. Apart from a total washout on the Saturday, the other days were declared an absolute success by traders and residents.

Having kicked off the event, it was then down to the traders to carry on. They formed a small committee to carry the event forward for 2014 and goodness me, they did so in style.

This year, we saw more waterborne events, with more than 130 swimmers taking to the river to swim. There was, for the first time ever in our area, dragon boat racing and what a spectacle that turned out to be. I was sad that there were only eight teams instead of 12, as four teams pulled out at the last minute, which was grossly unfair on the charity, as the four boats that were unmanned still had to be paid for. I am sure that those who did not take part this year will want to be involved by entering a team for next year.

There was to be the swan race, which was a very funny spectacle last year, but sadly Bank Holiday Monday was a washout (oh dear!). So the swans were put to rest for another year.

All in all, everyone had a brilliant time, the feedback from traders and public was quite amazing and I know everyone is looking forward to a bigger RiverFest for 2015 and I know there are new plans already being discussed.

On now to the biggest event that is held in Shoreham every year, attracting visitors from all over the world, Shoreham Airshow.

I make no excuses in saying this is the biggest charity airshow in the world and the second biggest airshow overall.

Well done to the amazing band of volunteers for what they do over a weekend that attracts thousands. They are hoping the total raised for RAFA will be taken over the £2million mark.

The displays we witnessed were second to none. This is not a show where manufacturers try to sell their aircraft, this is a show displaying the best of aviation history from very early aircraft to the Eurofighter Typhoon. It is a show that is really for the entire family, even if they don’t like airplanes, with several acres of land to walk around filled with games, stalls, displays, fairground attractions and food.

There are obviously many other events happening in the area. Don’t forget the award-winning Shoreham Farmers’ Market and the Artisan Market, plus a French Market and Italian Market, the Chilli Fest, Food Fest, outdoor movies on the rec plus many other events. Adur, and Shoreham in particular, is really a ‘happening’ place, with more and more people wanting to live in our pretty unique area.