The Kemp parties in Midhurst

One of the Kemp parties
One of the Kemp parties

THIS year will be marking the end of an era for the Grange in Midhurst, bowing out gracefully after years of serving the community.

However, the building isn’t the only thing people in Midhurst will be saying goodbye to.

The closure will also mark the end of an era for the renowned ‘Kemp Parties.’

Jenny and Andy Kemp held their first party at the Grange for their daughter Helena’s 15th birthday.

Last weekend, they celebrated her 40th.

“When the Grange is knocked down, it will take a lot of our memories with it,” said Jenny.

“People in our early photos have now passed away, including my beloved mum, who always helped us prepare.

“The Grange felt like the right place to hold her wake.”

Hundreds of people travel from around the country to be there.

The Kemps have hosted wedding receptions, christenings, birthdays and anniversaries, doing all the decorating and catering themselves - which can take up to three days.

Andy and Jenny organise the events with their children, and grandchildren, many of whom look up to Andy as a father figure.

“The whole family mucks in,” said Jenny. “We never leave a mess for the staff as they’re so good to us.”

“The Grange manager, Mike, has always looked after us. Nothing is ever too much trouble.

“We just have to have another party in the new centre – people don’t want to see them go.”