Countylife - the top news from around Sussex this month

Takepart at the Withdean Stadium

Takepart at the Withdean Stadium - Credit: Archant

A look at what is happening out and about in Sussex.

Sussex sports scheme wins Prime Minister’s Big Society Award

Takepart, a Brighton and Hove initiative to get more local people playing sport, is the latest recipient of a Big Society award, Prime Minister David Cameron announced last month.

The scheme, which was created in 2008 to inspire the city of Brighton and Hove ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, is aimed at people of all ages and abilities and has seen more than 60,000 people in the city taking part in free sports events each year.

Takepart is run by the sports development team at Brighton & Hove City Council in partnership with 100+ sports clubs, charities, community groups, local businesses and public sector organisations. The scheme offers local people a chance to try more than 450 free and discounted events and activities across a range of different sports, dance and physical activities, with everything from archery to zumba on offer.

This year’s Takepart events saw 1,600 young people participate in intra-school competitions and an estimated £16,000 of free coaching and tuition provided voluntarily by local clubs and coaches.

David Cameron said of the scheme: “This Big Society award recognises the achievements of the partners and organisers, as well as the 60,000 people they have helped to Takepart in a new sport.” He went on to say that, “like so many of us, the people of Brighton and Hove have been inspired by London 2012. The Takepart initiative is keeping the Olympic flame alive.”

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South of England International Horse Trials held in Ardingly

Olympic event riders from across the globe competed at the South of England International Horse Trials last month. Now in its sixth year, the event saw over 600 riders competing over two days, at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. The event attracts many of the top three-day event riders each year, and 2013 was no exception, with Team GB Olympic medallists Mary King and William Fox-Pitt competing alongside New Zealand medallists Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson. The cross country course was built and designed by Scott Brickell, who has been a part of the construction team at Burghley Horse Trials, one of only six CCI four star events in the world – Scott was also one of the official course builders for the London 2012 Olympics in Greenwich Park.

Savills Haywards Heath were proud sponsors of the event this year, sponsoring the Savills CIC* class, which was won by Australian rider Chris Burton. Chris Spofforth, head of Savills Haywards Heath office said of the day, “We were delighted to sponsor this prestigious equestrian event, and to date the feedback from everyone has been both unanimous and extremely positive. We already have a number of people who have requested an invitation for next year!”

Savills Haywards Heath are already looking forward to sponsoring the event in 2014, and are hoping to raise the profile of this Olympic showcase on our doorsteps.

Chesnut Tree House celebrates 10 years

As part of the hospice’s 10th birthday celebrations, Chestnut Tree House hosted a special birthday luncheon at Gravetye Manor Hotel in West Hoathly last month. The hotel, which recently won the AA’s Hotel of the Year in England award, has been supporting Chestnut Tree House throughout the year.

The luncheon welcomed 60 key individuals and senior corporate executives. Neil Laughton, entrepreneur and adventurer, and also founder of the Great Sussex Bath Race presented a cheque for over £7,000 raised from the Bath Race earlier this summer (pictured above), which is enough to pay for one whole day of care at Chestnut Tree House. His guests included some of those businesses which took part, Coca Loco and Be Creative, as well as Mayo Wynne Baxter who have chosen Chestnut Tree House as their charity for several years. Other guests included long-term supporters of Chestnut Tree House, Sir Clive and Lady Whitmore and their friends from the Mid-Sussex area.

The hospice’s Chief Executive Hugh Lowson said, “I would like to say thank you to everyone who attended. The event gave us the opportunity to thank those who have so generously supported us, both in this, our 10th anniversary year, and in previous years, and at such a beautiful venue. It also gave us the opportunity to welcome some new faces and tell them a little more about our service and the work the hospice does in looking after nearly 300 children across Sussex. Thank you once again and congratulations to Gravetye Manor Hotel for winning this fantastic Hotel of the Year award.”

Steyning puts it all on display

Last month, the Best Food Theme Shop Window Competition was held in Steyning. Judged by local MP Nick Herbert, the contest attracted 25 competitors from Steyning High Street and Cobblestone Walk, taking in non-foodie outlets as well as a range of food shops and eateries.

First prize went to Cobblestone Tea House in Cobblestone Walk for their cardboard cut-out of the Queen, seemingly carrying a basket of produce towards a table set out for a Royal Tea.

Mr Herbert also popped into the farmers’ market while in town, to watch the annual Pumpkin Weigh, which was fortuitously happening on the same day.

This was won by brothers Thomas and Benjamin Cochran, who live in nearby Ashurst.