Sidlesham reunion for pupils of 1930s

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IT WAS effectively a sociological experiment, and for many it simply didn’t work. But 70 years on, Brian Holly would happily do it all again.

Brian’s family came to Sidlesham, alongside more than a hundred others, as part of the land settlement scheme in the late 1930s.

Set up by Lloyd George, the scheme brought unemployed inner-cities families to one-and-a-half acre farms provided by the government.

“My father came from the Rhonda Valley in 1938 through the land settlement,” Brian recalls. “They gave land to the Geordies, Scotsmen and Welshmen, all miners, in the bad old days of the 1930s.

“It was land given to them to use to come down and farm. We had chickens and pigs, and everything you grew you gave to the government. You could not sell outside. That would be black market. And that’s what brought us to Sidlesham.

“My father had been a miner, but within no time, he was killing his own pigs. He adapted very very well. He was making everything out of pigs. He was very very good.”

The move brought Brian to Sidlesham School which he joined as a five-year-old in 1940 and where he stayed for 11 years - happy days he is hoping to celebrate with a major reunion for all Sidlesham pupils from the 1940s and 1950s.

He has even got some pupils from the 1930s coming along to the event at the school on Saturday, May 21 from 5 to 10pm.

Anyone keen to come along should contact Brian on 07702 415158 or Martin Daws-Chew on 01243 511169. Brian or Martin will provide anyone interested with full details of what will be happening on the night.

For Brian, it will be a chance to meet up once again with Margaret Makeham, who is now living in Felpham. Brian admits he gets quite a reaction when he tells people he is still in touch with his first teacher from the war.

The school was fantastic, Brian recalls: “It was excellent discipline. I had the cane. That was a good thing. And my father was a very strict man too.

“It was only a county council school, but I thought it was great. It taught me everything that I needed to know - a lot of common sense!”