After 105 years absence, it was an emotional moment to see a brewery dray enter the Brewery Field this Sunday as two magnificent shire horses, Pride and Griffin, were driven in by John Medhurst, their driver for the past 28 years.

The Fullers Horse and Dray was the star attraction of the annual Community Open Day at the Brewery Field, Chichester’s most recent public green space now open to all. Cllr Peter Jones, the Mayor of Chichester, formally opened proceedings, celebrating the recent agreement between the County and the City that has made this historic space now available for community use. He paid particular tribute to Tim Rooth, the late president of the Chichester Society, who had fought to save the Field for the citizenry and it was a privilege to have Cllr Louise Goldsmith and retired highways engineer Paul Wreyford in attendance, both of whom had been actively involved with Tim in that venture.

Transition Chichester, in close association with the City Council and the Brewery Field Volunteers, had worked hard over recent months to make this celebration a reality, and there was a good mix of stalls dealing with green pursuits such as wild life, cider-making and vegetable growing as well as Caroline’s award-winning ice-cream on sale from her van. The Rotary provided their usual excellent support with their marshals and St John Ambulance First Aiders gave freely of their time. We were honoured also by the presence of Gillian Keegan, our new MP, who spoke to many and recorded a video of their conversations.

All agreed that the atmosphere of the day was most convivial and, in spite of the threat of a passing hurricane, the weather remained just right, neither too hot nor too cold. It was a delight to see such a lot of creative activities for children and the parents of many were delighted that, at 50p, everyone was able to enjoy at least one ride on the dray.

After a good three hours circling the Field in front of some 400 residents and visitors, alas it was time to go home, as John Medhurst swung the dray out of the Field and back to his farm near Odiham, carrying with him a prize from the community raffle!

The end of a perfect day.


Colin Hicks

Site Admin - Westgate Residents' Association Chichester

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