Quite a turnout

Alas no glorious summer day this year, but forecasted gale force winds did not deter us from mounting our annual Summer Fête on the Western Lawns.  The event was opened by the Major of Eastbourne, Councillor Pat Hearn, who entered into the true spirit of the occasion by visiting nearly all the stalls and trying her luck on the many raffles and games – and even sampling a glass of Pimm’s!

Although the weather may have kept away the crowds – and the high winds certainly brought their challenges – stallholders and visitors battled the elements with a surprisingly pleasing result of around £3,000 taken.

As always, Cakes and Toys proved winners, but so did Pandora’s Box – who had some lovely things to sell this year – and many of the other favourite stalls.

No Pimm’s ‘tent’ – but full marks to the Sneath family (with the assistance of Ian Goldsmith) for creating their ‘Pimm’s Garden’ – a delightful resting place as many found – and serving the goodies out of the back of their Volvo as no gazebo would have withstood the gusts!

We were particularly grateful to the many entertainers who carried on despite the weather:  Stix Drummers who marched from the Pier handing out programmes as they went, the girls and boys from Shining Stars Dance Academy, Black Strap Molasses, The Easy Beat Orchestra and Sam Hughes with his amazing tribute to Elton John.

All this was made possible by sound engineer, John Webb, who not only overcame almost impossible conditions to ensure that the show could go on, but also generously donated his fee towards equipment for the Under Ground Theatre and the Friends were delighted to present a cheque to Stephen Rolls-King, the Chair of the Eastbourne Arts Centre.

It is an exciting time for the Devonshire Park Theatre – with the massive project of renovation and restoration of the exterior of the theatre nearing its completion.  Funds raised by The Friends at this Fête will be put towards the money they have already pledged for the redecoration of the foyer.  It should look beautiful when it is completed in October.

For so many years, as many of our members know, much of the work required to the interior of the theatre was put on hold – as there was little point in carrying this out on a leaking building!  Now, with a water-tight and structurally sound theatre, we look forward to a future that will see many more improvements – some with the help of the Friends.

As always, the Friends are grateful to all the organisations, individuals and their members who have contributed so much towards this event.