Uckfield: small town, big spirit

PUBLISHED: 01:16 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013

Uckfield:  small town, big spirit

Uckfield: small town, big spirit

The historical Wealden town's size belies the force of its personality...

Uckfield: small town, big spirit

The historical Wealden towns size belies the force of its personality

Visitors will find themselves warming quickly to this attractive Wealden town because of its strong personality and the resourceful spirit of its people.

Finding themselves underserved by local radio stations, a group of residents started their own. Uckfield FM was awarded a full-time broadcast licence last year and is now so popular that there is a waiting list for volunteers willing to help out. A second studio was built this year to cope with the increased demands.

Uckfield Farmers Market is the largest of its kind in Sussex and has extremely strict rules on local produce its an average of 8.5 food miles from producer to stall. Certainly, the local produce was enough to attract Marco Pierre White to the area his Wheelers of St Jamess Chequers Inn is in nearby Maresfield.

Festival fun

Uckfield takes its annual festival very seriously. This year, the event has been awarded a Lottery grant to encourage more involvement from community groups. Uckfield Library, U3A, Uckfield Volunteer Bureau, PHAB and Wisteria Lodge have been working with Brighton carnival artists Same Sky to create giant figures, which will be paraded through the town on the Big Day (9 July) with models made by the primary schoolchildren and Spiritus, the carnival group from Uckfield Community Technology College.

The models will then be incorporated into a large community sculpture on Luxford Field which will be illuminated in the evening.

Rude Mechanicals brilliantly inventive annual shows are a must-see. Their new whimsical satire on the 1950s Gentle Harrys Farm is being staged at an open-air venue near Little Horsted. Victoria Melodys engaging and hilarious new show Northern Soul comes straight to UCTC Theatre from the Brighton Festival where it was given five star reviews.

Quintessential Minds will be telling Dark Tales at Framfield Village Hall.
The Festival Club in the Luxford Lounge in the Civic Centre offers free music and storytelling at 6 pm each weekday night, and a chance to catch up with some of the very best of local talent.

The week ends with Uckfields own Last Night of the Proms, which will be led by young soprano Jo Appleby. Uckfield Concert Brass will provide the instrumental fireworks.

Uckfield over the airwaves

Local radio station Uckfield FM was created in 2002 by founders Alan French, Paddy Rea, Gary King and Mike Skinner.

Originally, the station operated only during the towns festival, although OFCOM awarded a full-time Community Radio Licence in 2009. The new, permanent station was launched on 1 July last year by Mayor Jim Carvey, alongside Mike Skinner and Gary King.

The original team of presenters, many of whom are still with the station, was sourced from local commercial and hospital radio stations.
During the first six months of full-time broadcasting, Uckfield FM has featured interviews with local musicians including Stevie Becks and Intraverse.
105 Uckfield FM www.uckfieldfm.co.uk

At the movies

Uckfield Picture House has been a working cinema since its opening in August 1920. Owner Kevin Markwick grew up around the Picture House his family bought it in 1964 and he took charge in 1994.
As well as new film releases, the cinema hosts comedy evenings and live-by-satellite opera, ballet and concertsconcerts.

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