1966 – the year England’s World Cup triumph ruined the cricket in Mid Sussex

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Mention 1966 to anyone with a even a passing interest in football and they will tell you what a great year it was – the year England won the World Cup.

Mention 1966 to whoever was sports reporter at the Mid Sussex Times back then and he will tell you it was the year a bunch of men with a football disturbed the cricket. Not to mention the rain.

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All was not lost, though. Apparently a number of clubs had a “whack” and managed to muster over 2,000 runs between them. Not quite as impressive as being named the best footballing nation in the world – briefly – but each to their own.

Elsewhere in Mid Sussex, other odd things were happening.

Lads from the 1st and 2nd Burgess Hill Boys’ Brigade, along with the 1st Hassocks and 1st Lewes groups, had pitched their tents at the royal estate of Sandringham for a week’s camping.

All was going well, with campfires and sporting contests when the camp was hit by a whirlwind. Yes, a whirlwind.

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The report in the Mid Sussex Times stated: “It was on the Tuesday that, through the fir trees which sheltered the camp, the phenomenon of a portion of these trees bending before a furious onslaught while the remainder remained static was observed.

“The sports tent was flung in the air and dropped flat, and one side of the mess marquee was flattened. Prompt action by hanging on to the guy ropes saved the marquee from going up too, though several other tents were caught as the whirlwind whistled through the camp.”

Luckily, no one was hurt and – as is typical of teenage boys – they all declared the camp to have been “the best ever”!

Heading over to Handcross, 1966 saw the introduction of ‘motorcycle cops’. Now, anyone who grew up in the 1980s may be thinking of the rugged, slightly scary, officers of the California Highway Patrol as they zoomed along the sun-drenched roads on their impressively powerful Kawasaki motorbikes in the TV series CHiPs.

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Put that image out of your mind. It’s not even slightly accurate.

In 1966, PC James E Siggs, whose beat covered Handcross, became the proud owner of a 250cc Deemster, which looked like a cross between a moped and a fridge.

PC Siggs was one of 19 officers from Chailey, Plumpton and Dane Hill to receive their machines from Chief Constable George Terry.

The Mid Sussex Times reported the bikes could reach 60mph and would soon be fitted with two-way radios.

It makes you realise how isolated police officers were in days gone by.

Our final picture was taken at a summer fair at the Church of the Ascension Hall, Haywards Heath, and shows one little girl successfully snaring a fishing boat at one of the sideshows.

Elsewhere, a two-year-old lad called Andrew was named the 500th child in the district to join the Tufty club. For those who were never lucky enough to encounter Tufty, he was a young squirrel who was used to teach children about road safety.

Little Andrew, of Lindfield, was given a bendy Tufty toy to mark the occasion.

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