July 15, 2017 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette 6th July 2017
A grey morning moistened with a light sea mist, a Sussex ‘fret’ following the rising tide. The East Green was deserted except for a dog walker and a lone figure pushing a metal wheelbarrow across the parched grass quickly browned by the few weeks of brilliant sunshine. He stopped every now and then to fill one of the many holes littering the area with a dark compost, tamped it down and moved on. The holes were made by digging dogs or metal detectorists, a natural enough pastime for the former but the latter should know better. The man sat down on one of the benches for a well-deserved rest. I learned that he is one of a small team of volunteers who tend several of our open spaces as well as the flower beds and borders south of The Crescent. The beds are strewn with wildflowers, a haven for insects and bees, and make a charming and restful background for the visitors either local or from afar who visit our town and enjoy a quiet sit down away from the hustle and bustle of the beach. I learned from him that the group maintain and nurture several sites throughout the town. They are easily overlooked and unseen but you can thank them for their dedicated and untiring service by respecting the work they do and by taking your litter home and by not digging holes.
THERE has been a spate of plant thieving in our area, some valuable and very attractive and often very heavy pot plants have been stolen from front doorways, plants bought to enhance the neighbourhood for all. I urge any resident suffering such a loss to please report it to the police, failure to do so gives truth to the lie that despite the cuts, the crime rate is down. I do not believe it to be so, it is simply that people feel it not worth the effort of reporting such crimes.