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A day to be proud of Sussex
It is a day which is meant to celebrate the best of the county – but nobody seems to know it exists.
Sussex Day takes place tomorrow (June 16) but despite being in its fifth year it seems to have failed to capture the imagination.
When The Argus hit the streets of Brighton yesterday (June 14), not one person knew anything about the day.
Launched by West Sussex County Council, the day is meant to “encourage people to celebrate the county’s heritage”.
Despite proclaiming “hundreds of food, drink and charity events” were taking place to celebrate the day, the West Sussex County Council website listed only four.
These included a cream tea in Bognor and a Sussex Day quiz for the air ambulance in Haywards Heath.
The East Sussex County Council website had only one listing, a road closure in Park Avenue, Bexhill, for celebrations.
The day is held annually on June 16 to mark the death of St Richard, Bishop of Chichester, who died on that date in 1253, and is the patron saint of bus and lorry drivers.
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The aim is to promote this special day as an opportunity for local residents and communities who might want to hold an event or some other celebration to mark the rich heritage and beauty of the county.
"The event has grown in popularity over the years and while we appreciate there are still many people who may not know about it we are optimistic that increasing media coverage is helping to spread the word.
“We do plan to continue promoting June 16 as a good day for people to stage a celebration but it is very much for local people to take up the challenge.”
Simon Hughes, assistant chief executive at East Sussex County Council, said: “We’re very happy if people want to celebrate and we’ll be flying our flag at our headquarters in Lewes to mark the occasion. It’s a great opportunity for us to promote our county – one of the most beautiful areas of the UK – and we support everyone celebrating Sussex Day.”
Roger French, of Brighton and Hove Bus Company, was shocked to discover that bus drivers had a patron saint.
But he said drivers would honk their horns tomorrow in honour of St Richard.