Today I'd like to introduce you to some notable Sussex residents who've made headlines recently.
1. Dame Vera Lynn: the Forces' Sweetheart, who lives on the Sussex coast
, celebrated her 100th birthday in style. Events and tributes across the country included a flypast over the White Cliffs of Dover (naturally) and, most fittingly, lots of tea parties and singing. Dame Vera's very much part of the Sussex community, especially with her founding and tireless support of the Dame Vera Lynn Children's Charity, which recently moved from Horsham to Cuckfield.
2. The Fox of Storrington. Was it real or fake news? Does it count as a resident? It was certainly famous for five minutes. The media whipped up a storm; the reality was rather more prosaic and quite sad. Very few animals would attack a human without provocation or, as in this case, desperation - it was unwell and probably unable to hunt. The mother of the unfortunate man whose ear was bitten suggested the fox might have saved his life, since he'd fallen asleep outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. So not nice, but there was a silver lining. Anyway it was caught and the fuss died down. But somehow it got caught up in the fake news scandal. All I'm saying is, while that debate rages and is important, let's keep a balance.
3. Joe Launchbury: the former Christ's Hospital rugby captain was my Man of the Six Nations, quite apart from officially being Man of the Match at least twice, and I felt quite smug when Jeremy Guscott agreed with me. (We should be clear here that I wasn't in conversation with Mr G, just heard him on the telly. But I still felt smug). Despite not being a first choice for the squad before the tournament, Launchbury was picked to start in all five England matches and played with consistent and brilliant commitment. Since he played for both Horsham and Barns Green before finally getting his professional start with Wasps he might be technically more a Sussex visitor than a resident, but we fondly claim him for our own. Or is the holiday spirit going to our heads?