NOSTALGIA: Looking back 25 years ago

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A BOGNOR Regis man dropped a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police 25 years ago this week, after he was arrested at Lords Cricket Ground wearing nothing but his underpants.

In the Bognor Regis Observer, dated March 31, 1988, it was reported he claimed to have been assaulted by two police officers.

He was arrested during his visit to Lords on June 6, 1986.

During his cross-examination at the High Court, before he dropped his case, he said: “It was sunny so everyone took off their tops,” he said. “I had to go one better apparently, and take my bottoms off.”

The paper reported he also admitted to making a ‘general nuisance’ of himself.

He also made a ‘rude comment’ to a woman, moments after a young woman had ‘streaked nude across the pitch’.

He had been evicted from the ground.

On the same page of the paper, a visit from the Princess Royal to South Bersted church hall was one of the main stories.

She flew into Bognor for a private visit to a training evening of the town’s St John Ambulance cadets.

Her helicopter landed in the playing fields of South Bersted C of E School, where a crowd of parents and children had gathered.

When she entered the hall, the princess was presented with a posy by new cadet, ten-year-old Frances George of Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis.

A royal visit was also the hot topic the same week 25 years previously, in 1963, when the Chichester Festival Theatre announced it would be welcoming Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon later that year.

The announcement of a royal gala performance was a follow-up to the previous year, when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had visited the theatre.

The front page of the Chichester Observer, dated March 29, 1963, said: “This time the performance will be in aid of Sussex and Hampshire Associations of Youth Clubs.”

Hopes were high the event would raise £4,000.

The play they were to see was Bernard Shaw’s St Joan, starring Joan Plowright, Sir Laurence Olivier’s wife, in the title role.

The same week in the Bognor Regis Observer, plans for the Bognor seafront to be transformed were unveiled by the head of a Bognor development company.

Major Robert Linton, of Linton Developments Ltd, wanted to build a harbour stretching out half a mile from the coast and enclosing the sea and beach from ‘Marine Park Gardens on the west to Gloucester Road on the east’.

Speaking after putting forward the plan, Major Linton said of the proposed cost: “At the moment it is impossible to estimate. The groynes and harbour walls alone would probably cost about £1,500,000. That is a wild guess, of course.”