The Festival Team

The Steyning & District Food and Drink Festival is being brought to you by a superb team of hard working, innovative, dedicated people – all volunteers !

The amount of voluntary time they have given to the event is quite mind blowing, but as long as it is successful and enjoyed by many, it is all worth it. Would you like to help next year? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please email:

We would also like to thank our friends at the Steyning Camera Club who give up their time to come along and photograph many of our events.  They make sure we record some wonderful memories of each of our Festival years.   If you would like to join their club click on this link to their website 


Committee Members

Reina Alston

Director & Vice Chair  of the Steyning & District Community Partnership, Reina heads up the Food & Drink Festival Committee, with special attention to the admin/PR side of the Festival and is responsible for “nagging” to make sure deadlines are met ! Reina enjoys working with the local magazines and newspapers who all give us such fantastic support, making sure as many people as possible know about the Festival.

Russell Barnes

Russell is a member of the Community Partnership Management Committee plus being Chair of the Visitors & Tourism Group.  His enthusiasm and energy for community work is boundless.    Luckily he is an architect by profession, so he is used to keeping projects on course !

Lou Crush

Lou’s father, Derek Crush, was the instigator of the Steyning Farmers Market back in 1991. Since then it has grown to be one of the best loved events in the town and in 2014/2015 the Steyning Farmers Market won the Sussex Food & Drink Awards Best Sussex Farmers Market and in 2018 were Grand Finalists. Lou has now solely taken on running the regular monthly Market, with her Father taking well earned retirement.  The Market continues to progress and thrive under her wing, with new ideas and concepts constantly emerging. Lou is also one of the judges for the Festival  Allotment Competition. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of all things rural is an essential asset to our team.

Zoe Cunliffe

Zoe lives with her husband and family in Upper Beeding, both being owners of The Mixology Group based in Hove. With a history of working in the hospitality industry, she is skilled in catering, event management and marketing – all a range of expertise much welcomed within our Committee.  This year she is heading up the Festival Cocktail being responsible for coming up with the “recipe” that will be on offer at many of our local venues.

Fiona Deane

Fiona is a highly valued member of our Committee, having voluntarily stepped forward  last year to help us with the Festival admin and continues in this role for 2022.  She shoulders the responsibility of gathering in all the Farmers Market special offers, which is a massive job.    A lovely lady – we are so happy she chose to contact us !

Janine Dee

Janine owns and runs The Cobblestone Tea House in Cobblestone Walk.  With her wealth of catering experience from many years in the trade, taking on a Tea House has been a dream come true – she always says:  “I love coming to work, I enjoy it so much !”.    We benefit from her ideas and enthusiasm to support the local community in as many ways as she can – especially within our Food & Drink Committee.  The Tea House hosts the Children’s annual Festival “themed” tea parties – always a sell out. 

Karen Dennis

Karen has been a Reiki Practitioner since 2001 and is now based in the unique and eclectic Cobblestone Walk.  We are so lucky that apart from all her other professional qualifications, she also loves working with Instagram.  This year she has joined our Committee and is looking after this side of social media for us.  Making sure as many people know about what is happening/what has happened within our Festival is a never-ending challenge.  Thank you so much, Karen, for becoming part of the team.

Alison Durcan

Alison recently moved to Steyning but very quickly threw herself into volunteering to help and support the town.   She is an enthusiastic member of our Festival Committee.  Steeped in experience of organising events & projects, she helps and assists with the admin side of our event, plus organising the ever popular Charity Coffee Morning  We are so pleased she moved to Steyning – do not know how we coped without her😊   

Janice Fraser

Janice is another energetic member of the Food & Drink Festival Committee, who takes on the massive challenge of heading up Facebook for our Festival. With her wealth of experience both from her days of working in the hospitality industry and her many years as Worthing’s Tourism Development & Marketing Officer, Janice brings so much to our band of hard working Committee members. Living, with her husband, in the heart of Steyning, she is never slow in volunteering her precious time to help the town and is much valued by all.

David Knight

David Knight from The Sussex Grocer in Steyning High Street brings a wealth of experience to our Group,     He readily gives  great help and support  to our Committee, whenever called upon, plus stepping forward and being one of our wonderful and generous sponsors.  Along with vast grocery, fruit & veg and household stocks within his store, he also showcases local produce in a big way.  We are so happy to have him on board with us. 

Martin Leigh-Pollitt

A couple of years back, Martin retired from the official side of the V & T Committee – i.e. the onerous task of being Chair and Committee member – but he is still at the other end of a phone whenever we need him.   For the Food & Drink Festival he has supported us with event ideas and chasing up to get any details confirmed and completed.  We are so happy that he still enjoys being part of the team.

Les Nicholson

Les – and his wife Louise – own The Artisan Bakehouse in Ashurst, 2018 winners of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards Best Eating Experience. As with all our Committee, Les is ultra busy running his own establishment and yet manages to give up some of his precious time to support the Festival. Being one of our Ashurst businesses, he makes sure his village plays an important part within the Festival. Check out all the wonderful special workshops and events that the Bakehouse hosts during the Festival season. 

Katie Overton-Hart

Following a successful career in the live events industry, involving a combination of working unsociable hours, mixed with international travel and a busy family life, Katie knows only too well the realities of a multitasker.  Along with being the founder of G&H Spirits, she thrives and is energised by balancing her career with family life and now adds being part of the Food & Drink Festival Committee Team to her list of “things to do”.  

Helen Pomery

Helen is Co-owner of Tottington Manor at Edburton.   She brings a mass of hospitality experience to our team together with vast marketing expertise.   Together with her never ending enthusiasm for the Festival, Tottington Manor also provide a wonderful venue for many of our events.  Helen, along with all our our team members, donates countless hours within their already busy work schedules, to bring about our annual Festival – great people.

Helen Hitchock

Owner of Sakala in Steyning High Street, Helen is never happier than when she is “making things happen”.   This year for sure, she is definitely going to do that.  She is stepping in to take over the main organisation of the Charity Coffee & Cake Morning, as Alison is experiencing some pretty major challenges in her life at the moment.  The Committee are so thankful for Helen’s enthusiastic help and enthusiasm.

May we take this opportunity to thank all our superb and generous sponsors.   Without their support and enthusiasm our Festival could not take place – we really cannot thank them enough.

This year our sponsors are:


HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL - Providing a range of public services making Horsham District a great place to live, work and visit.   Supporting local communities with advice on availability of grants & funding for projects and events; various free training programmes/workshops and start-up business support and information.


THE SUSSEX GROCER - Knight’s Budgens is a family owned & operated business who have been running award winning shops since 2007.  The Sussex Grocer opened in Steyning last year, providing a vast range of food, drink & household needs.  Many products are Sussex sourced, something of which they are very proud.


HJ BURT - One of the area’s longest standing independent estate agencies; unprecedented service covering all property

COCOA LOCO Local award winning ethical chocolate producers.

HIGGIDY PIES–Local producer,making glorious everyday food to help people live

RUSHFIELDS PLANT CENTRE -a family run business that has been serving its local Poynings community and beyond for nearly 40 Years. The business began as just a few greenhouses in a field and has blossomed into a diverse centre offering a much-loved Café and Farm Shop, both focusing on local

STEYNING & DISTRICT BUSINESS CHAMBER - Promoting, protecting and developing the interests of the business community of Steyning and District.

STEYNING & DISTRICT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP –Volunteers organising projects/events to bring benefit to residents, businesses & visitors.

STEYNING PARISH COUNCIL  - supporting community projects wherever possible.

WEST GRINSTEAD & DISTRICT PLOUGHING & AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY – established in 1871. Very pro-active in promoting the interests of the local farming community.

The Sussex Grocer logo
HJ Burt estate agent logo
Cocoa Loco Logo
Higgidy Family Kitchen
Rushfields logo
West Grinstead & District ploughing and agricultural society logo

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