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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!

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:

Committee Members

Martin Leigh-Pollitt

Chairman of the Visitor & Tourism Group, a sub committee of the Steyning & District Community Partnership of which he is also a member of the Management Group. Martin is enthusiastically involved with the Festival Committee, making sure all our plans are within the realms of reality ! Amongst many tasks, he unfortunately lists making sure the Lamp Post banners get put up properly as part of his brief – it is a pretty complicated procedure.

Reina Alston

Vice Chair of the Visitor & Tourism Group – a sub committee of the Steyning & District Community Partnership, of which she is also one of the directors. Reina looks after 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.

Nick Hempleman

The picture above shows Nick with his wife Nina alongside the glorious red, vintage tractor that welcomes visitors to his store.  Nick owns the Sussex Produce Company, winners of  the Sussex Food & Drink Awards Best Food Shop 2009/2012 & 2018, and brings a wealth of experience to our Group,  especially for his young years . He is always ready with new ideas for the Festival to keep it fresh and interesting and is heavily involved in arranging some of the events we have on offer – and making sure they happen.  Both his shop and café offer a vast showcase for local produce so being involved with our Festival is a natural progression and only further emphasises his support for this culture.

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 works very closely with her Father making sure the regular monthly Market continues to thrive and takes on new ideas and concepts.  Lou also works alongside her Father at Daylands Farm, where she also promotes the successful Pick It Cook It workshops and day courses. Her enthusiasm and knowledge of all things rural is an essential asset to our team.

Eddie Woodward

Eddie (on the left) is the owner of Cobblestone Walk – a major retail outlet within the town – and is another of our team who gives so much time and energy to the Festival, together with his expertise.  In the past he also ran the Cobblestone Tea House, so food and drink is another of his great passions. He is an enthusiastic Steyning supporter and loves nothing better than volunteering his time for the benefit of the town.  A much valued member of both the Partnership’s Visitor & Tourism Group and the Food & Drink Festival Committee.

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 so much of his precious time/new ideas to the Festival. Being one of our Ashurst businesses, he makes sure his village plays an important part within the Festival. Check out the Ashurst Tasty Walk – an event which Les spear headed – together with  all the wonderful special events that the Bakehouse hosts during the Festival season. Les is also another member of the Partnership’s Visitor & Tourism Group, and again much valued.

Janice Fraser

Janice is another energetic member of the Visitor & Tourism Group, who this year has taken on the massive challenge of heading up Social Media for our Food & Drink 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.

Denise Butler

Denise joined our Visitor & Tourism Group last year, and volunteered to take on the task of our Secretary.  She now produces  the Minutes for our monthly meeting, which takes some doing when we all talking at a hundred miles an hour about all the projects we have in hand !  She moved to Steyning around 2 years ago, and has enthusiastically embraced the community way of life and has become involved in quite a few groups, not just the Community Partnership.   She quickly agreed to help on our Festival Committee and is taking on the responsibility of helping with the admin side of things including assistance with the Shop Window Competition and getting our printing etc. in place.

Diana Couling

Diana has lived in the area for many years, and has a Bed & Breakfast business right in the heart of Steyning. She is never happier than when she is cooking breakfast for her guests
using local farm eggs and sausages & bacon from the High Street butchers – all accompanied by her own homemade jam. A lover of walking, she is the person to go to if you need guidance on which path/trail will take you where ! In fact, she leads the annual Food & Drink Festival Ashurst Tasty Walk which begins at The Fountain pub for lunch and finishes for tea at The Artisan Bakehouse. Diana is an enthusiastic supporter of all things local and puts her heart and soul into any project she takes on. Her first year on our Committee, it is great to have her on board.

Alison Durcan

Alison has only recently moved to Steyning but has very quickly thrown herself into volunteering to help and support the town.   As a new member of the Partnership Visitor & Tourism Group she was keen to step forward to join our Festival Committee as well.  Steeped in experience of organising events & projects, this, her first year, she will help and assist within the Admin side of our event, which is a huge part of the work.    It covers such areas as collecting all the data for the guide listing the offers and events,  together with amassing the details of all the businesses involved.  She is welcomed with open arms to our hard working team.  

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