More than two thousand people lined the streets as villagers held a charity celebration.

The Cuckfield Mayor’s procession snaked its way through the town for this year’s Independent State of Cuckfield event.

The celebration has been a tradition since 1966 and sees the election of a new mayor as residents purchase unlimited numbers of votes for one penny each and all the money raised goes to local good causes.

The village declared independence after a dispute over the ownership of a set of popular playing fields which locals used for fundraising with the council.

The mayoral election was introduced to raise money and appoint an honorary mayor – the first of which was Joe Mitchell, then landlord of the White Harte.

This year’s mayor was elected on Friday and Rob Helliwell from the Wheatsheaf Inn and Hotel, won out.

He said: “I am honoured. We had a candidate from the Wheatsheaf run for mayor last year who came very close, but they assisted me. There are plenty of village events I will be supporting as mayor and we are trying to get more people involved and keep the tradition alive.

“In the run up to the election we did a skydive that raises the majority of funds.”

Ken Gregory, treasurer of the Independent State of Cuckfield and three time mayor, said: “It all started back in 1966 when we decided we needed a mayor. To elect the mayor we had candidates stand doing various sponsored events and it is a penny to vote.

“This year we raised £6,292.54 from the five candidates, and that will go to good causes throughout the community of Cuckfield such as the church, sports events and groups, and schools.”