Forget Abba, 1974 was all about fossils and Paris

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Did you know New Year’s Day wasn’t a public holiday until 1974? Can you imagine the number of people who were mysteriously struck down by an unknown ‘morning after’ illness every January 1 before then?

Such matters did not concern the youngsters in these photos, which were published that year by the Chichester Observer.

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It was the year Ian Ball failed to kidnap Princess Anne outside Buckingham Palace, the BBC first aired Bagpuss (the story of a saggy old cloth cat), Lord Lucan disappeared after the murder of his children’s nanny, and a bunch of unknown Swedes, called Abba, won the Eurovision Song Contest at The Dome in Brighton.

For three-year-old Jacqueline Grundy, though, something much more interesting than all that happened. She found a fossil!

The actions of a rather enthusiastic tide had exposed the fossil cockle beds at Bracklesham Bay and the site proved irresistible to budding palaeontologists, including little Jacqueline.

She was pictured posing proudly with a fossilized shellfish.

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While Jacqueline was busying herself with the very, very old, hundreds of men, women and children were raising money for the very, very young.

Some 573 people took part in a 17-mile sponsored trek across the Downs to raise money to buy a foetal heart monitor for St Richard’s Hospital.

The trek was organised by Chichester Lions Club’s and among the youngest walkers were a group of girls from Parklands Youth Club.

They were Dalveen Flowers, Debbie Egerton, Ida Johnstone, Debbie Smith and Sharon Dunaway.

Fossils and fundraising were probably the last things on the minds of a group of 36 primary school children who were taken on a four-day educational visit to Paris.

The youngsters – 24 from Petworth, nine from Fittleworth and three from Duncton – crossed the English Channel by ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and continued their journey by train to Paris.

It must be said, the one thing many travellers to Europe do not miss is the unavoidable use of the ferry to get to France. A train through the tunnel is much easier on the stomach than the undulating nausea of the Channel on a rough day.

The youngsters travelled under the watchful gazes of French teacher Diane Stanley, Petworth teachers Rosemary Thompson and Alan Knott, and Petworth welfare assistant Marjorie Primett and had all saved up to help pay the £25 cost of the trip.

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