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Stories From Local Voices
The Oral History Project: Christopher Passmore

Christopher Passmore was born in 1931 into a well known local farming family at Applesham Farm, Coombes, Lancing. He had his own flock of sheep.

Just after the Second World War his father suggested he should take the lambs (about forty of them) to Findon Fair. He had a young puppy trained as a sheepdog, and he set off across the Downs with them.

Christopher Passmore

There were no fences [on the Downs]. They'd had some fences but they'd all been knocked down during the War, so once you left the far end of this farm there was no fence until you got almost to Findon.

But anyway, I drove them [i.e. walked them] with this dog and Father said, "You mustn't race them or run them too quick." I know he did it to make me think, because he thought that it would probably be the last time. I'm very pleased, though I was scared stiff actually, that I'm so glad I did it. But the interesting thing about that was, I drove these forty lambs and a dog .  .  .

[Father] had arranged for, when I got about half way, for a retired shepherd who had worked for the Wiston Estate, and he was living in a cottage I think, at Findon Park on the Downs, and he arranged for him to meet me part way with a dog. So when we got about half way, right on the open Downs, and somewhere the other side of Lychpole, he actually joined in, which was brilliant because he knew exactly what to do.

And the interesting thing is, when we got down the lane to Findon Fair, there were a lot of sheep coming in, still some being driven in, and not by lorries. At the top of the fairground there was a big pen where you could drive the sheep straight into a sort of holding pen, and then work out what you were going to do with them.

What was interesting to me was, when we got within about three to four hundred yards of the Fair, from the fairground, I can't remember how many, but several shepherds or farmers turned up with their dogs and just helped us in. I mean, it was magic. I don't know whether my Father said "Christopher is coming," but you know, it was wonderful to see the co-operation. I mean, they just took over basically.

Young Chris Passmore

See more local voices


Tony Holmes
During WWII, Tony worked with
horses for the coal merchants
E. Holmes & Sons.

Christopher Passmore
Just after WWII, Christopher drove
sheep from Applesham Farm
across the Downs to Findon Fair.

Geoffrey Chalcraft
Geoffrey delayed his National
Service because he had an
apprenticeship as a TV engineer.

Tony Holmes
Tony was at school when a bomb
dropped on Church Street. He saw
the scene shortly afterwards.


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