Fiona Hughes interviewed by Olivia Broadbent Smith

Olivia: What is your favourite part of Fair Day?
Fiona: When Malcolm plays the music in the evening and we are all dancing, all generations together and we get totally into it!

What do you think makes our community so special?
I think what makes our community so special is that the people of Ditchling give love. People love Ditchling, it’s a wonderful community where if I need cakes for the Fair, hundreds of people say, “I’ll make you one!”. And at the pre-school I sent out an email to the parents to say we want a mud kitchen for the children and within ten minutes a Dad came back, “I’ll make you one Fiona!” and we have a lovely mud kitchen in the pre-school now… It’s fantastic, outside, healthy. They love it!

Where is you’re favourite place in Ditchling?
My favourite place in Ditchling is my home! My home in Ditchling is my favourite place, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say that but I do love it. I also love walking my dog up Lodge Hill and looking at the Beacon and looking at the whole of Ditchling Village, with it’s church and all the buildings, looking very much as they would have done hundreds of years ago, because there is nothing to spoil the fantastic view and it looks different everyday, but always beautiful.

Do you have anything else you would like to say about the Village?
Ditchling is a very arty place and love the fact that it is arty. It has art in it’s history and it’s got lots of artists living here now who open their houses. We have a wonderful museum and it’s a fantastic place to live!

Deborah nominated Fiona.

Can you tell us a little bit about why you nominated Fiona?
I nominated Fiona because for many, many years Fiona has spent nearly all of Fair Day and the preceding week doing nothing but preparing the teas and serving the teas and at the end of the day she’s exhausted. The only bit that she does get to join in with is when Malcolm does the music at night and I thought this year I’d actually like her to be part of the procession and it may be the first time she’s been part of the procession.

The second reason I nominated her really fits into the first reason and that is a big part of the pre-school and she’s part of doing the floats and she’s very, very important to the young people of the village and I think sometimes our little tots take a lot of energy and a lot of organisation on Fair Day and I would like Fiona to be part of the day, rather than just slaving away with her lovely Cath Kinston pinny on.

One more thing is that she is sweet and generous and that she will do anything for anyone and I think she said herself why she loves Ditchling. She really is a Gem of Ditchling.

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About Ditchling Fair

In 1312 King Edward II granted John de Warenne, Lord of the Manor, the right to run a Fair in Ditchling 'in the eve and in the day and in the morrow of St Margaret the Virgin' and thus was to be celebrated on July 20th.

More information is on The Ditchling History Project website...