Everyone Needs a Wendy

Life Adventures

We Wunt Be Druv?

Anyone who is a true Sussex Bonfire Boy or Girl will know this saying within their soul, which means ‘We won’t be driven’, and it is a sentiment that runs very deep in the traditions of the annual Sussex Bonfire Celebrations.   

Nothing quite demonstrates a passion and commitment as an early morning clean-up on an autumn morning after the celebrations of fireworks, as barrels of beer and torches lie scattered along the roads in many a village or town; that lay nestled amongst the Sussex Downland and Weald that is unique to the South East of England.  

For those readers who don’t know what it means and have never heard of it, I also suspect that you may not drink Harveys. This locally brewed real ale, which dates back to 1875, fully supports the Sussex dialect, using this phrase as a much-used strapline.  

For those that love history and detail, John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs will be a good reference point in the understanding of the traditions of the bonfire and pagan rituals; maybe as you enjoy a pint of Harvey’s after a slow walk around the beautiful historic town of Lewes and its many delights of shops, galleries and the Norman Castle overlooking some breath-taking views across the town and surrounding downland.   

If the book’s detail is too much, I suggest enjoying the Bonfire Celebrations with the Sussex Bonfire Societies through the Autumn Season. Nothing, and I can vouch for this, Nothing will ever capture the feeling of walking in a procession along Cliffe High Street with your opinionated pagan father, carrying a historical banner and rookies lobbed at your feet by those you love with all your heart. It is madness, but the pride within is palpable. 

Bonfire Night in Sussex will be loud and passionate, with emotions pouring out through the bonfire prayers and the wide variety of costumes – resulting from many hours of stitching by a dedicated hand.  

The night will be full of cheer, often with family and friends spanning generations, stinking to high heaven of paraffin, surrounded by fire, ready to ignite at any given moment.

Depending on your views, you will be most welcomed in Sussex if you have this bravery or stupidity.  

But never disrespect the prayers, or the rules, that surround these celebrations. Even pagans have a limit, and respect must be shown to the tar barrels roaring past, deafening the crowds and sending any health and safety suit-wearing professional to panic. 

1977 London Jubilee Bonfire Celebration  

– Yes, that is me in the front with a yellow shirt.  

For those less fond of loudness or chaos, I suggest you head for Firle or Ditchling Beacon. The rolling chalk downland can also evoke just as many emotions. Not only for the hardened road cyclist trying to beat their previous best time up these hills but also for the creative souls wanting to find their expression. The Bloomsbury emotions spilt out by the infamous Virginia Woolf when she lived in Firle and hung out with Rupert Brooke and many a ‘Neo Pagan’. 

Firle Beacon The Perfect Spot To Rest And Enjoy The View

Sussex is a soulful love of our beautiful land, deeply embedded with grit and determined energy. As you reach the summit of the Beacons, pause to enjoy your achievement and marvel at the vista, field after field, laid out amid the different villages across the county.  

I have played sports for over 40 years in many fields. I have what is known to those elitists of the world, a Double Blue. I have played Stoolball for Sussex and Newick, representing both the Juniors and the Ladies. My highest score was 169 runs within 12 overs. I have lost count of the numerous awards I have received for most catches across Kent, Sussex and Surrey counties for this beautiful sport. This is not me being elitist, but I could catch and catch well, thanks to my mum, who played catch with me for hours and hours. 

Friendly Competition – Newick Stoolball League Finals @ Seaford 

Or ‘Good hands’, as my rugby coach also told me back in the 90’s when I was one of the founder members of  Lewes Ladies Rugby Club as their number 8 and Prop Forward for Sussex,  and can you believe this prop even scored a try?


Making History – enjoying sport, community, friendship and the odd boat race .

‘We Wunt Be Druv’ sums up the drive, focus and determination of a passion for pushing boundaries and even breaking through some, striving towards fair play, community, sport and appreciating the beauty of the English countryside with our mates along the way, whatever the season.  

This beautiful soulful county has so much to offer; it is worth the adventure.  Take a peek.

With Smiles,