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by Steve Ramsey


Sussex Day D


16th June is Sussex Day, a chance for everyone to celebrate the culture and history of our county.


id you know that St Richard is the patron saint of Sussex? There’s a statue of him outside Chichester Cathedral (pictured right).


“Virtuous, pious and in a high degree charitable to the poor” – St Richard, the 13th century Bishop of Chichester, was the most popular Sussex man of all time, according to Victorian historian, Mark Antony Lower. St Richard is said to have performed several miracles during his life, such as multiplying food and curing illnesses. He was also known for his efforts to reform Church administration in the diocese. He died in 1253 and was buried in Chichester Cathedral. His tomb became a place of pilgrimage, and miracles were reported there “almost immediately”, which helped persuade Pope Urban IV to canonise him in 1262. The Cathedral still has a shrine to St Richard, and it is “not unusual for over 200 prayers to be left at the Shrine each week”. People mark his life on St Richard’s


Day, 16 June, which has recently also become Sussex Day.


The idea of Sussex Day came from Ian Steedman, of Worthing. “I thought we could have a day to focus on the county, to bring the county together.” In 2006, he pitched the idea to Henry Smith, now MP for Crawley, who was then West Sussex County Council Leader. Smith liked the idea, and got the Council to offi cially recognise the day. Henry Smith said: “Sussex is older than England. Our county has some great heritage… Sussex has been on the frontline of our national story from the Norman Conquest to the Battle of Britain.


18


SUSSEX LIVING June 2012


The Sussex Flag.


“The Sussex Charter says we will look after our neighbours, be guardians of our wildlife and support all local businesses.”


“Celebrating Sussex’s past, present and future is something we can all do… There’s even some great food and drink to help celebrate – Sussex Pond Pudding and a pint of Sussex Best to name just two!” Of course, there’s no set way to celebrate Sussex Day, but fl ying the Sussex Flag is standard practice. Or you could listen to Burgess Hill Town Crier Neil Batsford reading out the ‘Sussex Charter’ in Burgess Hill, Hassocks or Hurstpierpoint. Ian Steedman wrote the Charter, which says the people of Sussex will, among other things, look after our neighbours, “be guardians of our wildlife”, and “support all local businesses”. West Sussex County Council has published a list of other ways to celebrate, some of which are a little vague (‘join something’) or not hugely Sussex-relevant (‘quit an annoying habit’). A few of the ideas are great though, like researching local history or looking for wildlife, and I particularly like their fi fth suggestion: “Eat only locally produced food on


Sussex Day.” Do let us know if you manage to achieve this.


Developing the Sussex theme


further, we have a few more suggestions on how to spend Saturday 16th June: Sussex was the birthplace of Cricket, so you could play a match in honour of the county. Banoffee Pie was invented in Jevington (near Eastbourne), so how about a celebratory helping? And one could argue that plastic surgery was invented in East Grinstead, so….


Joking aside, Sussex Day is a great idea – I’ll mark the day by reading some Sherlock Holmes (Conan Doyle lived in Crowborough) and listening to music by The Cure (the band was founded in Crawley). ■


FURTHER READING: The Worthies of Sussex by Mark Antony Lower (1865) Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler, 1756-9 (hagiography)


With many thanks to: Neil Batsford, Henry Smith MP, Paul Lendon, and Ian Steedman.


www.sussexliving.com


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