Herald Column: June 20

On Saturday it was that time of year again for one of my favourite events of the constituency calendar – the Worthing Children’s Parade. This was the 12th parade and 12th time I have had the privilege to act as compere welcoming the schools as they processed into Steyne Gardens. With 20 different groups all representing characters from David Walliams’ children’s books that was no mean feat and apologies to anyone caught up in the traffic congestion caused by the tailback out on to the A259!

As always, an incredible amount of work and thought had gone into the various entries and thank goodness the rain and wind held off or it would have been some very soggy versions of Gangsta Granny, the Bear who went Boo, Kung Fu Kylie et al that limped into the Steyne. It was the biggest and best parade yet but made all the more special by the appearance stage at the end by the author David Walliams himself. We were only told at the last moment that he was able to come and apparently had some nephews in the parade itself. In the event he was slightly late, and I had to do some improvised stand-up in front of what must have been over 1000 children, parents and teachers all eager to discover who the surprise guest was. Thanks to Town Crier Bobby Smytherman for helping out with my discomfort by striking up a chorus of ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’ to keep everyone amused during the wait. I have put a video round-up of the event on my website.

It was back to Steyne Gardens with my wife in the evening for a leisurely stroll along the prom, together with over 170 others, as part of the Walk for Worthing in aid of Guild Care. Guild Care is one of the jewels in Worthing’s crown and each year supports over 3,500 local children and adults of all ages, and the money raised from this enjoyable event will go to help that great cause. Fortunately, the rain stopped just in time and there was a clear incentive to complete the 5km as quickly as possible to avoid the queue for the free drink at the bar for all walkers.

On Friday I had a very constructive and positive meetings with about 25 members of the Shoreham branch of Extinction Rebellion. Whilst I may not agree with some of their direct-action tactics which at times have been counter-productive I certainly share their recognition of the climate emergency we currently face and the need to do much more, much more urgently. We found a lot more we agreed on than divided us and I am looking forward to working with them on projects such as a constituency wide Environment Fair later this year perhaps linked to a Green Day of Action. As from this week I have also taken up their suggestion of adding a Tim’s Eco Top Tip to my weekly Forward Look video. You can see it on my Facebook page and do let me have your suggestions.