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Arrr! Half term events revel in Chichester District's pirate and smuggler past


Ahoy there me hearties! Landlubbers and seadogs can learn about the Chichester District's links with pirates and smugglers at The Novium this half term. Plus, young people can find out about the treasures on offer at Westgate Leisure.

Learn about the Hawkhurst Gang from the 1740s who were one of the largest and most vicious of the south coast smuggling gangs.

Gang member William Jackson's talisman, a small printed cloth kept in a silver locket, is in the museum's collection. It was found on his body when he was discovered dead in his cell after being condemned to death for the murders of a customs officer and a fellow gang member. Jackson was buried at The Broyle, Chichester, where 'The Smuggler's Stone' records the event.

The Novium has organised a number of activities including:

·       Family Event: Smugglers and Pirates from Saturday 25 May to Sunday 2 June from 11am-2pm. Try out the 'mock stocks' and feel what it might have been like to have your head and hands locked in stocks. Make pieces of eights, hardtack biscuits or build a galleon. Come dressed in your best pirate gear and win a bar of chocolate. Free with museum admission.

·       Family Event: Jolly Rogers versus Rule Britannia on Thursday 30 May from 1-2.30pm. Make and decorate a fabric flag to fly above your galleon. Using printing, fabric and paint to customise your own branded flag. Pre booking required. Child £3.50 (does not include access to the museum).

There are also two upcoming events for adults:

·       Film Archives: The Royal Sussex Regiment in Photographs and Film on Friday 31 May from 2-3.30pm. Discover the history of the Royal Sussex Regiment through revealing photographs and film clips. Adult £5 Concession £4 Pre-booking required. This event is held in partnership with the West Sussex County Records Office.

·       Talk: Wrecks in Sussex on Tuesday 4 June from 6.30-8pm. Mark Beattie-Edwards, Nautical Archaeology Society programme director, talks about two local shipwrecks and their archaeological and historical importance. Adults £6 and concessions £5.

For more information contact The Novium on 01243 775888, email or visit the website at

At Westgate Leisure, Chichester the 'Burst Holiday Club' will run from 8.30am-5.30pm each day apart from Bank Holiday Monday (Monday 27 May).

There will be a variety of activities available on these days with a wide range of equipment for children to be creative including:

·       dance;

·       trampolining;

·       ball games and team sports;

·       arts and craft structures session; and

·       film time (during lunch).

The holiday club is available for children aged 6 to 16 years. Drop off is between 8.30-9am, pick up between 5-5.30pm. Half day available 8.30am-1pm (pick up between 12-1pm).

The cost per child is £22 for a full day or £16 for a half day. Bookings can be made either on the phone by calling 01243 785651 (option 5), in person at any of our reception desks or online at (registration is required for non-Westgate members, the child who will be attending the holiday club needs to be the one who is registered).

Children will require a packed lunch, a water bottle and swimming kit. Over 8's will get the chance to swim each day, under 8's may swim depending on numbers.

For more information please email Lee Sargeant at the centre at

Children can enjoy a selection of fun activities for just £1 at Westgate Leisure, Bourne. Sports included in the promotion are table tennis, badminton, squash, five-a-side football and short tennis.

Meanwhile, registration is open for the Natures Way Foods Chichester Junior Aquathon, so all those inspired by the Brownlee brothers' medal winning performances during the 2012 Olympics can now sign up. The Junior Aquathon is for competitors aged between eight and 16. It includes a swimming race at Westgate Leisure, Chichester, followed by a race around Chichester College's campus. The distance set for junior competitors will be dependent upon their age. For further information or to enter visit