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1945: 23,000 'fun' passes for troops

US troops play horse shoes in Dorset in 1944 relaxing before D Day (colourised image)

Final CRHA Social, gifts for Cuckfield sports clubs

The final ‘social’ under the auspices of the Cuckfield Residents' Hospitality Association took place at the Quean's Hall last Wednesday, there being a large attendance.

The principal event of the evening was the presentation of money vouchers by the President of the Association (the Rev. HFC Kempe) tò the various sports clubs in Cuckfield to assist them to continue now that hostilities have ceased.

The Vicar pointed out that it was almost exactly three years ago since the Association came into being. and troops from all over the world had attended the ‘socials’ dances and whist drives that had been arranged. No fewer than 23.000 passes had been issued to the troops during this period. The Association had possessed a financial side. and a great deal of money had been made.

A balance of £100 had heen set aside for Cuckfield's Welcome Home' Fund. while another sum was bring spent to erect a seat in Cuckfield Churchyard to commemorate the friendship that had existed during the war between the local residents and the troops stationed in Cuckfield (Applause).

A further sum of £150 was being held in trust by the Association. and would be distributed to the sports clubs in Cuckfield in order that they might start afresh with equipment and be in a good financial position (Renewed applause). The Speaker then handed vouchers for £215 to Mr W Gaston (representing the Cuckfield Cricket Club). £50 to Mr W Dawn (representing the Cuckfield Football Club), £30 to Mrs W Dinn (representing the Cuckfield Tennis Club), £50 to Mr C Carter (representing the Cuckfield Swimming Club). £50 to Lieutenant H L Trahene (representing the Cuckfield Home Guard Rifle Club). £20 to Mrs Ede (representing the Cuckfield Stoolball Club) and £15 to Mr. Gilbert Sayers (representing the Cuckfield Cycling Club). All the recipients, who were accompanied by two other club members as they ascended the platform, suitably returned thanks.

An excellent entetyainment followed. Miss Betty Freedman led the singing of a number of favourite choruses, and Mr Jack Freestone (Haywards Heath) was heartily acclaimed for his renditions of 'The English Rose' (from 'Merrie England'), 'The Mountains of Mourne'., 'Silent Worship' (Handel) and 'The Garden Where the Praties Grow'.

The sweet voice of Peggy Gilbery (Lindfield) was heard to distinct advantage in the songs 'Love is My Reason' (from 'Perchance to Dream'), 'Remember', 'Song of the Lark' (composed specially for Miss Gilbery by Montague Ring) and 'Some Day I'll Find You'. The concluding item was the playing of popular piano accordion selections by Norman Marchant. The President said he was sure they would wish Miss Peggy Gilbery and Miss Lilian Hunt, who accom panied at the piano, the very best of luck, as they were shortly going out with E.N.S.A. to the Middle East to entertain the troops. (Applause).

A happy time was spent in dancing to the strains of the Red Star Band (Haywards Heath) and indulging in amusing competitions, nice prizes being handed to the successful competitors. Delicious refreshments were served in the lobby, under the direction of Mrs Quickenden, and the proceedings ended with the singing of 'Auld Lang Syne' and the National Anthem.

Mid Sussex Times, 3 October 1945

Photo: At the American camp at Burton Bradstock, Gunner Paddy Donaldson (from Belfast), a member of a small searchlight unit billeted nearby, tries his hand at the game of 'horseshoes' in the sunshine. His partner for the game, T/4 Johnny Madaro (of 3740 77th Street, Jackson Heights, Long Island, New York) looks on. Behind them, the Nissen huts in which many of the American troops are billeted can be clearly seen. The original caption states that 'the two armies soon made friends, visit each other's camps, eat together, play games'.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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