Category Archives: Uncategorized

Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children returns

This spring will see the return of the UK’s muddiest fundraising event for little ones – Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children. Last year saw 160,000 children across the UK take part, raising an incredible £243,000 for Save the Children’s vital work, and this year the charity hopes even more people will sign up, take part and donate. 

Between 23 and 29 April 2018, nurseries, early years groups, families and children up and down the country are being encouraged to take part in a Muddy Puddle Walk to raise money for the international children’s charity.

Organising a Muddy Puddle Walk is a great way for your little ones to explore the world around them and jump in muddy puddles, like Entertainment One’s Peppa Pig, for a worthy cause.  Whether you splash in puddles along a trail at the park or get creative and make your own puddles indoors from paper and foil – your Muddy Puddle Walk will be a fun day to spend together that little ones won’t forget. Raise funds in the way that suits you – help walkers get sponsored for their walk, ask for a donation to take part or even bake Muddy Puddle cupcakes to sell on the day! The money you raise will help Save the Children’s work to transform the lives of vulnerable children in the UK and around the world.

Sophie Pirouet, Fundraising Campaigns Manager at Save the Children, says: “We hope everyone will get outside this spring, come rain or shine, and help raise much needed funds for Save the Children. It’s so easy to take part and it’s the perfect excuse to explore the outdoors with your little ones. By jumping in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig and raising money for Save the Children you can help give children a brighter future.”

By taking part in a Muddy Puddle Walk and raising money for Save the Children, you can help vulnerable children around the world have a safe place to play and learn.  Sign up now at  for your free Muddy Puddle Walk Fundraising Pack full of fun Peppa Pig inspired activities to help you get started – with tips for great walks indoors and out, fundraising ideas, fun activities to get your walkers ready for the big day and at the end of the walk, there’s a free Peppa Pig sticker reward for every child. The fundraising pack will also explain what life is like for children in different countries, helping them see how they are making a difference through supporting Save the Children.

Initiative to tackle dwindling time children spend outdoors


A tree top adventure, in Halland, Lewes has developed a weekday Easter Activity Club in response to results from the survey of 2000 parents that show children’s outdoor time is shrinking dramatically. The results reveal that three quarters of Sussex children spend less time outside than prison inmates.

Chris Smith of Branching Out Adventures said: “UN guidelines for prisoners require ‘at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily’ however it appears that the majority of our children spend less than 60 minutes playing outside each day.”

“From the research, this appears to be partially due to the draw of digital technology. It’s a huge benefit for children to be outside, in the woods and away from devices  – doing something active, exciting and interesting.”

The Easter activity club runs weekdays from April 2nd to 13th, 9am to 4pm. Activities vary from day to day, but will include Bushcraft Fire, High Ropes, Low Ropes, Giant Swing, Bushcraft Shelters, Bounce About, Crate Challenge, Climbing Wall, Monkey Climb, Leap of Faith, Speed Zipwire plus tons of games and other fun.

Spaces are limited. For more information email:

Leading Sussex Drama School to open in Horsham


Ariel’s top team for new Horsham Academy: Beth Gavin, Chelsea Hennessey, Ben Simpson and Kyle Brown.

Ariel Company Theatre is delighted to announce that it is opening a new drama academy on Saturday 28th April based at the Roffey Millennium Hall.  Ariel is a family theatre company and a leading light in all aspects of theatrical training including dance, drama and singing, with established academies in Crawley, East Grinstead, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Steyning.  The new academy will run every Saturday afternoon from 2.15pm to 5.00pm welcoming students aged 5 -19.


Ariel’s award winning academies strive to provide much more than just out of school activities to keep young people occupied.  Run by a team of dedicated tutors who enthuse the students with a love of performing, Ariel helps to develop skills for life such as confident public speaking, collaboration skills and teamwork.  Students have the opportunity to make new friends and perform in a variety of events including plays, musicals and community events and on the professional stages of the Capitol Theatre, The Hawth and Brighton Fringe Festival. Everyone is welcome to come along and there is no audition process.  Free taster sessions are available, so bring along your friends!


The Horsham team is headed up by Principal Ben Simpson who brings with him a wealth of knowledge, having trained at the London School of Musical Theatre.  Ben is an experienced producer and actor whose credits include shows at the Theatre Royal Brighton, Chichester Festival Theatre, The Brighton Fringe, The National Theatre and The Royal College of Music. Ben headed up the Ariel team when the Haywards Heath Academy opened in 2014 and this year will be bringing his expertise to Ariel’s debut at the Brighton Fringe, when he directs a double bill of plays; Bassett and The Grandfathers.


Ben said “I am very excited about the opening of the Horsham Academy. The students can develop their performance skills across all three disciplines with experienced teachers.  We are a very inclusive school, so whether you have heaps of experience or are a total novice you will be made welcome. We will be working on a wide range of material from great classic musicals to contemporary plays and current chart hits.  Whether you aspire to be a professional performer or just want some fun and to make new friends, come along for a taster session”


Ben will be joined by a very experienced team comprising Dance Tutor, Beth Gavin who graduated from Roehampton University with a First Class Honours degree in Drama, Theatre and Performance studies in 2014 and is an Associate Member of the British Ballet Organisation (BBO). Beth also works as a Theatre Agent, representing actors in theatre, television and film and enjoys sharing her professional working knowledge of the industry with her students


Drama will be taught by Kyle Brown who started his acting career at the age of 15 after being scouted by an agent during a drama workshop. Since then he’s appeared in a range of productions both on stage and screen. Stage credits include Carmen and original musical ‘Secrets’ at the Leicester Square Theatre plus TV work and commercials for Newsround, Disney, Virgin Airlines and Morrisons. Over the last few years Kyle has turned his focus to song writing and has been featured on BBC introducing.  Kyle has also been helping Ariel launch a new ‘Theatre in Education’ initiative.


Teaching singing skills will be tutor Chelsea Hennessey who has been with Ariel since its inception in 2004.  Starting as a student on Ariel’s very first day, eventually Chelsea moved on to teaching and has been working at the Burgess Hill Academy for four years. In addition Chelsea also teaches and works with Ariel’s special needs groups, the Othello’s and Othello’s Plus.  She has worked as Musical Director on a number of Ariel workshops and projects, including Annie, Junior Musicality and a performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End.


Ensuring the smooth running of the academy and providing a very warm welcome to students will be Administrator Becky Gallagher. Becky has lived in Horsham all her life and has grown up surrounded by Amateur Dramatics, as her parents were founding members of HAODS. She grew up watching and performing in shows and her first part was as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz! Becky went on to do a number of shows with HAODS. Becky is really excited about the opening of the Horsham Academy and is hoping that in time her young daughter will follow her on to the stage!


With many productions and projects in the pipeline, now is a great time for students to join Ariel. Rehearsals for Ariel’s main musical productions ‘Les Misérables’ will soon be starting and the show will play at the Capitol Theatre, Horsham from

11th – 17th November.


For more information on Ariel’s new Horsham  Academy or visit


To register for a free trial contact Nicci Hopson on 01444 250407.

Andy and the Odd Socks!

Andy Day, Star of Children’s TV, proudly presents his brand new rock and roll band for kids….ANDY AND THE ODD SOCKS!!!

Widely known for his antics tackling dinosaurs, baby animals and being on safari, much loved children’s TV presenter Andy Day has another string to his bow. This is Andy the rock star!

Andy has shown his musical credentials before, via his hugely popular dinosaur raps, which have amassed a whopping 12 million views on YouTube and he is undoubtedly one of the best loved children’s personalities in the UK. And Andy and the Odd Socks look set to become just as popular!

Catch him on the following dates:

4th April – Bristol Lantern

13th April – London Bush Hall….(Friday the 13th!)

14th April – Rendlesham Old Jet Studio (nr Ipswich)


For tickets:


Mental health pioneer and campaigner visits Cumnor House Sussex

Photo: Geoff McDonald and Paula Talman taking a ‘top and tail’ approach to mental health wellbeing

As part of a drive to promote the mental health wellbeing of children in schools, Cumnor House Sussex was privileged to welcome Geoff McDonald, advocate and campaigner for mental health wellbeing to their school for the day.  Geoff’s expertise has led to work with the Royal Foundation (Prince William, Harry and Kate), with Pope Francis on the creation of a more sustainable and inclusive economy and with David Cameron and CEOs of Footsie 100 Companies in helping to break the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace.


Geoff spent the day reviewing the school’s recently launched iSpace Wellbeing curriculum programme for 4-11 year old children.  As well as providing children with a mental health and wellbeing education, iSpace Wellbeing offers a language and toolkit to help them, their teachers and parents start the conversation about mental health.


During his visit, Geoff observed wellbeing-themed lessons which took place among different age groups throughout the school and watched the Year 7s acting out a Wellbeing play to the younger children in Years 5, 6 & 7.  A highlight for the children was the presence of a ‘smoothie-making bike’ in the dining room which is used to help promote the benefits and importance of exercise combined with healthy eating.  They chose their own ingredients, placed them in the blender and started pedalling – the harder they pedalled, the quicker their smoothie was made and ready to drink!


The day culminated in a talk by Geoff and Paula Talman, the creator and founder of iSpace Wellbeing, to an external audience in the school’s Theatre.  They discussed a ‘top and tail’ approach to mental health wellbeing; with a focus on both the workplace and schools, who play a vital role in preparing children for their own futures in tomorrow’s workplace.


“Geoff gave us an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation, talking first-hand about his approach to creating ‘human’ workplaces that are mentally and emotionally healthy, where individuals can flourish and organisations can prosper,” commented Christian Heinrich, Headmaster at Cumnor House Sussex.  “It certainly brings into sharp focus the responsibility we have in supporting the overall mental health wellbeing and happiness of the children in our care.”


As well as being delivered at Cumnor House Sussex, iSpace Wellbeing is being piloted at other Sussex schools, with the plan is to extend the programme nationally.   Alongside this, an adolescent wellbeing programme called #iWonder is being piloted, capturing children in the 11-13 age group. Both programmes are delivered through the PCSHEE timetable and specifically address children’s physical, social and mental health.


For more information about iSpace Wellbeing, visit :

DIVERSIFEST UK A charitable fundraising event for kids with or without disabilities

On Sunday 1st July 2018 from 2-5pm, the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath ( have offered their facilities for free to host DiversFest UK. This remarkable children’s music event has been organised by mum of two Linsey Sim to raise money for two local charities; Kangaroos (, who run activities and events for children with additional needs and their families, and Chailey Heritage Foundation (, a charity providing education and care to young people with complex needs.

Talented musical duo Singing Hands, who use Makaton in their performances and specialise in delivering inclusive shows, will be headlining, thanks to the corporate sponsorship of the French Group ( who have paid their bill in full. There are lots of other fun activities, including a raffle, ‘Pimp my Wheelchair’, face painting and full size bouncy castle.  Party bags will also be given to the first 100 children to arrive. Although aimed at preschool and primary age children with and without disabilities, the event will be open and inclusive to all who wish to come, no matter their age, size or abilities.

Tickets: Tickets are £5 per person and are available now via our website – (mobile version – We apologise that we are not offering any concessions or discounts to people with disabilities or their carers due to the inclusive nature of the event and the fact that we are fundraising for these two amazing charities.  Admittance is, however, free for children under the age of 12 months.

Numbers are limited, so please book soon to avoid disappointment.

Support Us: DiversiFest UK is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, with the sole purpose of arranging this event and maximising its fundraising potential. We have further acts available to book, all of whom have members with disabilities, but are looking for corporate sponsorship to cover their costs.

We would also love to book a British Sign Language interpreter for the day and would appreciate a sponsor or volunteer for this also.

Anyone interested can contact us to find a way they can support us within their individual constraints. Corporate opportunities start at £20 and anyone can donate towards the running costs by making a PayPal transfer to the email address below or contacting us for bank details. You can make a big difference with a small donation.

This event is only possible through the generosity of a number of businesses.  For full details of our supporters please see our website.

The National Trust and Cadbury team up to offer families a fun Easter weekend in Sussex

Photo: National Trust, Tony Cobley


This Easter holiday the National Trust has loads on to get families outside and exploring all that spring has to offer.


Have a go at ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities such as climbing trees and creating homes for bugs.


What’s more, every time you experience a National Trust day out, you help care for these special places for future generations.


To discover a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at a National Trust property near you, visit:


Here are our favourite Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts across Sussex:


Alfriston Clergy House,

Fri 30 Mar – Mon 2 Apr, 10.30am – 4.30pm, normal admission charge, plus £2 per trail sheet.

Explore this his medieval, thatched Wealden hall-house and its picturesque garden this Easter. This ancient house is in an idyllic setting, with views across the River Cuckmere. It’s surrounded by a delightful, tranquil cottage garden that’s bursting with wildlife for you to spot. Go on an adventure around the garden in search of hidden clues. If you’re clever enough to discover them all, you’ll receive a chocolatey treat.


Birling Gap
30 March – 2 April, 10am – 3pm, £3.50 per trail sheet.

Birling Gap is a great spot for coastal walks, rock pooling and fossil hunting – all while enjoying panoramic views of one of the longest stretches of undeveloped coastline on the south coast. Then you can refuel with a seaside picnic or drop into the café, shop and visitor centre. Follow the map to find hidden clues on Belle Tout and Lookout Hill. Get them right and you’ll receive a chocolate Cadbury egg.

Devil’s Dyke
Sat 31 Mar – Mon 2 Apr, 11am – 3pm, £3 per trail sheet.
Once described as the ‘grandest view in the world’ by John Constable (who knew a thing or two about landscapes), Devil’s Dyke is the perfect setting for your next family day out. From walking to cycling, kite flying to taking in the views, there’s lots to see and do in this mile-long valley. This spring, head to Devil’s Dyke for a day of fun for all the family. Come along anytime between 11am and 3pm to collect your quiz sheet and map. Find the plastic eggs around the Dyke to solve the clues. All participants receive a delicious Cadbury chocolate bunny. On Easter Monday, bring your own hard boiled egg and take part in our egg rolling competition.

Fri 30 Mar – Sun 15 Apr, 10.30am – 4pm, £3 per trail sheet.
Explore hidden corners and secret paths on a nature-inspired Cadbury Egg Hunt at Nymans this spring. Families can have fun in the spectacular gardens which, in spring, are a blaze of colour and scent. Hidden archways reveal far reaching views of the Sussex Weald. The surrounding ancient woodland can be enjoyed for walking and wildlife spotting. Claim your Cadbury chocolate prize after following a trail around the beautiful garden, set around a romantic house and ruins.

Fri 30 Mar – Sun 15 Apr, 11am – 4pm, £3 per trail sheet.
With acres of beautiful parkland, come wander in the footsteps of JMW Turner. See if you can spot our herd of fallow deer while blowing away the cobwebs with our walking trails. Elizabeth Ilive studied potatoes while she lived at Petworth House, but her notes have gone missing. While at Petworth, help Charlotte Bunny find these lost notes and use the clues to help grow the perfect potato patch on your trail sheet and receive a chocolatey prize.  Choose your potato to grow, what month will you plant the seeds and how will you keep the slugs away? The decision is yours.

Sheffield Park and Garden
Fri 30 Mar – Sun 15 Apr, 10am – 4pm, £3.50 per trail sheet.
With acres of landscape garden containing lakes and waterfalls, and bordered by historic parkland and woodland for you to explore, Sheffield Park and Garden is perfect for your family day out. Join in on this year’s Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and head off into the garden to explore wildlife’s clever use of camouflage, tracking and secret codes.  Can your skills match those of the birds and animals that live at Sheffield Park? Complete the hunt and receive a chocolate egg as a prize.

Fri 30 Mar – Sun 15 Apr, 11am – 3pm, £3 per trail sheet.
With beautiful hillside gardens, winding woodland paths and views across the Sussex Countryside, Standen is perfect for a family day out. Play hide and seek between the trees, visit the house and spot the first of the tulips as they begin to appear. Explore the woodland, meet some of the animals which make Standen their home and solve nature’s riddles to claim a chocolatey reward.

Woolbeding Countryside
Sun 1 Apr, 10.30am – 3.00pm, £3 per trail sheet.
Woolbeding Common is an ancient and wild landscape, offering glorious views and a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle. Quietly tucked away in the tranquil Rother Valley, this huge estate offers wide horizons and intimate secluded places, along with an extraordinary blend of habitats to explore. Drop in for a day of fun activities for all the family with egg decorating and rolling, a springtime Cadbury Egg Hunt along the River Rother, an egg shy and egg race. If you complete this year’s Easter trail you’ll receive a delicious chocolatey reward.

Borde Hill celebrates 125th anniversary

Borde Hill will celebrate their 125th anniversary this spring with a stunning display of rhododendrons, many of which were collected by the plant hunters of the Edwardian age.


Borde Hill near Haywards Heath in West Sussex was purchased in 1893 by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke with the express intention of creating a magnificent garden.


An enthusiastic collector, Colonel Stephenson Clarke was one of the sponsors of the great plant hunters of the early 1900s.  He filled his garden at Borde Hill with rich and diverse trees and shrubs from all corners of the world including China, Tibet, Burma and South America.


In his book of 1932, Colonel Stephenson Clarke says of the rhododendrons:

“Borde Hill may be said to possess a more or less representative collection of these beautiful plants including most of the fine species introduced by Wilson, Forrest, Rock and Kingdon Ward…a large number of which have been raised here.”


Visitors to the garden near Haywards Heath can see these shrubs grown to trees from Rhododendron seeds collected by intrepid explorer George Forrest on his 1924 expedition to China. Forrest’s contribution to natural history in western China was unrivalled.  He discovered 1200 plants species new to science.  He has been called the Scottish Indiana Jones of the plant world and was given the Royal Horticultural Society’s Victoria Medal of Honour in 1921, and the Veitch Memorial Medal in 1927.


This relationship between sponsor and plant hunter is still in evidence today at Borde Hill as the current guardians – Eleni and Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke remain committed to introducing new and interesting species to the garden.  The couple will unveil the newly designed Round Dell (by RHS medal winning designer Sophie Walker) in July.  This area of the garden features plants collected by the modern day plant hunters at Crûg Farm and is surrounded by fantastic chusan palms planted by the Colonel.


Eleni and Andrewjohn are also keen to underline the horticultural pedigree of the garden and keep the Colonel’s legacy alive.  As part of their 125th anniversary celebrations they have arranged for writer and historian Caroline Holmes to deliver a fascinating talk on the Edwardian garden.


Caroline Holmes says: “The Edwardian Garden can be described as the original www for a glorious array of hardy and exotic plants for gardens, large and small, its extensive plant palette is one to celebrate not fear. The evocative history and contemporary setting of Borde Hill is both golden and delicious.


Other treasures to enjoy in May at Borde Hill include; the deciduous Knapp Hill azaleas which provide a kaleidoscope of colour in the Azalea Ring, Kornus kousa over 80 year’s old, late flowering magnolias like Magnolia obovata, Magnolia fraseri and Magnolia officinalis, other flowering trees include davidias, stuartias, halesia and many bulbs.

Borde Hill’s Liriodendron chinense will also be one to admire as it celebrates its 115 birthday this year. The Italian Garden will be in full colour thanks to 3,000 tulips and the woodlands will provide magical colour thanks to giant rhododendrons and a carpet of bluebells.



Special events in May include:



16 May    (10.30am – 1.30pm )     The Edwardian Garden, Golden and Delicious.  Caroline Holmes will evoke memories of a golden afternoon, glimpsed in black and white photographs and nostalgic cottage paintings with architecture inspired by the Mediterranean. Includes Refreshment on arrival, Talk and garden walk; Tickets: £24.00 (RHS Members/Friends of Borde Hill), £30.00 non-member


23 May     (10.30am – 2.30pm)    My Garden is my Sanctuary.  Join this one day course to improve self-awareness and confidence skills in this relaxing and peaceful setting. Workshop activities will include exercises using nature as a backdrop and resource, story, sensory awareness exercises, solo reflection time and sharing with others. Please see website for more details and tickets.


Borde Hill Garden’s prices and opening times:


The garden is open seven days a week from 20 March – 1 October, plus 20 – 31 October 2018, 10am to 5pm with the last admission one hour before closing. 


Day Tickets for Individuals and Families

Adult – £9.50 [£8.55]

Concession* – £9.00 [£8.10]

Child (aged 3-16) – £6.35 [£5.70]

Child under 3 Free

Carer Free

*Concession rates apply to visitors with a disability, students with ID and 60+ claiming a pension

Family Day Tickets

2 Adults + up to 3 Children – £28.50 [£25.65]

1 Adult + up to 3 Children – £19.00 [£17.10]

Cumnor House Sussex pupils & staff dress up for World Book Day

The twentieth anniversary of World Book Day was celebrated at Cumnor House Sussex by pupils and staff dressing up as some of their favourite book characters for the day. 

World Book Day, celebrated every year by Cumnor House Sussex, encourages school children of all ages to explore books and the joy of reading.  This year’s theme, “Share a Story” aims to encourage adults, parents and older siblings to participate by reading and sharing stories.  

“Everyone, from the children in our Nursery to those in the Pre-Prep and Prep School, went to the most amazing effort,” commented Christian Heinrich, Headmaster at Cumnor House Sussex. “Many were so in character that they were totally unrecognisable – it made it quite tricky identifying them in class!”  

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading around the world.  Established by UNESCO in 1995, it is a one-day festival celebrated in over 100 countries all over the globe. 

To find out more about Cumnor House Sussex visit

‘Jay-Jay and the Carnival’ by Sue Wickstead

This is the fourth children’s story book from Sue and a third book for Jay-Jay the playbus.
All of the four books are 5-star award winners with ‘Readers Favourite’.
This new book is based on the real Bewbush Playbus which was a regular feature in the Crawley Carnival.
Does anyone remember?
Have you ever been on a Playbus? Why do the children love him?

Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is a brightly coloured playbus full of toys.
He’s always ready for adventure, and after an eventful summer the bus is ready for his journey to the carnival.
The children are also excited – but what will happen on the way?

The real playbus was initially funded by the Queens Silver Jubilee Community funding.
It was a pioneering project in the South-East of England and one of the first of its kind.
The bus was loved by the families and especially the children who used it.
The original bus JJK 261 was named Supersonic.
It has a photographic history book, Bewbush Playbus, which led to questions from the children Sue met on her teaching journey and which led to the writing of the fictional tale.

Sue will be undertaking author visits during book week.
Sue is further offering free visits during 2018 as available.
For further information contact Sue by email

Also visit her website to find out more