Hundreds of revellers joined in a fire and ice party extravaganza in Mid Sussex to welcome in the new year.

More than 800 party-goers crowded into a giant 300ft long marquee at Hickstead for a black tie dinner and dance set to a fire and ice theme.

One partygoer at the new year's eve bash was Jordan, from Brighton, who is expecting her first child.

She joined in the celebrations but only toasted in the start of 2002 with a glass of water.

Organiser Philip Bunn said the party had been fantastic and really successful, and people had danced well into the night against a backdrop of flickering silk flames and sparkling lights.

He said: "It was a proper black tie affair, all singing, all dancing. We had a cabaret singer during dinner and a live band and disc jockey after.

"It was great and everyone has been having a really good time. We had absolutely no hassle at all."

Mr Bunn said everyone looked fantastic and they even had a number of men wearing kilts. The entrance hall was decorated to look like a ski village with a cable car which the organisers had brought from Switzerland.

In the main hall there were 6ft high silk flames lining the stage with soft lighting lending a dapple effect to the ceiling.

Mr Bun said: "Guest went through to the reception and had a drink, that's where we created the ice side of it. They then went through some snow arches to the fire which was a fabulous contrast.

"People really did go "wow" when they walked in."

Elsewhere in Mid Sussex pubs were heaving with revellers despite the cold weather.

Police and fire crews had a quiet night with only a few minor disturbances.

More than 200 people crowded into The Hogshead pub, Church Road, Burgess Hill, to enjoy the new year celebrations.

Manager Adrian Hopgood said: "It is our pub policy not to sell tickets and people were queuing right up the street.

"We opened the doors at 7pm and we counted 200 in. After that we let a few more in but then it was on a one in one out basis.

"We shut the bar down at midnight so staff could enjoy it and we carried on until 2am."

Mr Hopgood said he had to order in emergency supplies before the party began and by the time the pub closed it had all gone.

In Haywards Heath many of the pubs were only letting people in if they had tickets, to control the numbers.

Mike Wooldridge, landlord of the Burrell Arms, Commercial Square, said: "We had tickets so it went really well. We limited the numbers so it wasn't too crowded and we had a disc jockey.

"We closed up at about 2am but then the staff had a party until about 7am."

Police were kept busy across the county but only recorded minor incidents.

Inspector Helen West said: "It was a fairly busy night for us but there were no serious incidents.

"The staggered pub opening times helped us because it meant people were not coming out of pubs and clubs at the same time.

"The cold probably put people off taking too long to stagger home. It quietened down at about 5am."

In Brighton and Hove, there were 17 arrests for offences, including robbery, possession of drugs and public order offences.

Pubs were allowed to open from 10am on New Year's Eve to 10pm yesterday.