Allan Everard, one of the founder members of the F.V.R.A.
I just read the September edition of Sussex Local and an article from the Findon Valley Residents’ Association. They were looking for any interesting local history from Valley residents that can be shared via the FVRA website. I rang the telephone number and got to speak to Alex Clouter. We arranged for him to come over and after an hour or so discussion, the following was written by me…
A much loved old oak desk sits in the lounge of my bungalow at Long Meadow in the Findon Valley, but it has in fact lived in the Valley much longer than I have.
It was formerly owned by my grandfather, Allan Everard, who retired to live in a house at the bottom of Cissbury Avenue in 1936. Two years later he took the desk with him when he moved to a new bungalow in Sullington Gardens where it remained until the 1960s.
The significance of this particular desk however is that all the early years’ business of the Findon Valley Residents’ Association passed across it, because Allan was a founder member and Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1937 until 1950.
Before he retired, Allan Everard was the Head Master of East Street Primary School in Farnham, Surrey, where I also was born, and as a schoolboy during the years of World War II, I used to visit my grandparents in Sullington Gardens during summer holidays. I can remember my grandfather often talking about happenings in the Valley and also that he would occasionally have to travel down to the Town Hall in Worthing to discuss some matter on the Residents’ Association’s business with the Town Clerk (Ernest G. Townsend) or the Borough Engineer (G.H.Kempton).
Whilst it is difficult to recall names over 70 years ago, I can remember two or three other F.V.R.A. members. There was a Mr. Spinks and a Mr. Cordwell, who were both officers of the Association, and Mr. Schindler, who lived opposite my grandfather when he was in Cissbury Avenue. They often used to meet up with other early residents for a lunchtime drink in the Cissbury Hotel (where Cissbury Court stands now), and I’m sure where Association business often featured in the topics of conversation.
Other names I recall, who were probably also Association members, are Learoyd, who ran the Cissbury Garage and occupied the house (where the Suzuki premises now stand); Frank Warren, the builder, lived in the yellow brick house in Central Avenue; Mr. & Mrs. Corbett lived in Cissbury Drive; Dr. Geldart was the local G.P. and occupied the house at the bottom of Marshall Avenue adjoining the Findon Road; and the Howard Brothers (Mark & Charlie) who built many of the bungalows in the Valley. Mark Howard lived next door to my grandfather in Sullington Gardens, and other residents that lived in the same road were Mr. & Mrs. Franks, Mr. & Mrs. Ferries, and Mrs. Chanter. I cannot recall many of the shops on King’s Parade back in the 40s and 50s but the Linga Longa Cafe was certainly there at that time.
Other memories of this area during the war years include walking around Cissbury Ring and witnessing some of the Army D-day preparations. Many were Canadian soldiers, a large number of whom were billeted in the town. On the flat area at the foot of the Northern slope of Cissbury I remember seeing two dummy landing craft with retractable ramps on which soldiers rehearsed beach landings.
I know my grandfather was a very conscientious Secretary of the F.V.R.A. and when he retired from the post after thirteen years he was presented with a handsome framed illuminated address, which thereafter hung in the hall of his Sullington Gardens bungalow.
The strange thing is: that I have just written these memories of the early days of the Findon Valley Residents’ Association on the very desk on which much of its initial history was recorded some 70 to 80 years ago
Written by Jeff Barnard