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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 – 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

Martin Leigh-Pollitt

Due to ill health last year, Martin has 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 the details confirmed and completed.   However, he has not joined us for the Zoom meetings which have become necessary in this difficult days – Zooming is not his most favourite new invention 😊 

Reina Alston

Director & Vice Chair  of the Steyning & District Community Partnership, Reina heads up 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.

David Knight

David Knight has just newly opened The Sussex Grocer in Steyning High Street and  brings a wealth of experience to our Group,   His first year on our Committee where,  although not being able to be with us for personal meetings because of the massive work to get the Steyning store opened, he has given some great help and support via emails and phone calls, 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. 

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.

Eddie Woodward

Eddie 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 the Community Partnership’s Management Committee, The Visitor & Tourism Group and the Food & Drink Festival Committee plus being another of the Allotment Competition judges – a very busy man !

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 all the wonderful special workshops and events that the Bakehouse hosts during the Festival season. Les is also another much valued member of the Community Partnership’s Visitor & Tourism Group.

Janice Fraser

Janice is another energetic member of the Food & Drink Festival Committee, who takes on the massive challenge of heading up Social Media 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.

Fiona Deane

Fiona is new to our Committee this year, having voluntarily stepped forward to help us with the Festival admin.  She has taken on the responsibility of gathering in all the Farmers Market special offers, which is a massive job.  Her  experience of Spain – she lived in Spain for quite a while and teaches Spanish – the organisation of the Festival’s first ever Spanish Evening with Dinner & Flamenco at The Castle Inn, Bramber, has fallen into her capable hands.  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 !”.   Her first year on the Committee, we benefit from her ideas and enthusiasm to support the local community in as many ways as she can.  The Tea House hosts the Teddy Bears Tea Party & Best Dress Teddy Bear Competition this year – in Janine’s hands it will be great fun.

Alison Durcan

Alison recently moved to Steyning but very quickly threw herself into volunteering to help and support the town.   As a member of the Community Partnership Visitor & Tourism Group, she also stepped forward to join 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 Springwells Charity Coffee Morning  We are so pleased she moved to Steyning – do not know how we coped without her😊   

Russell Barnes

Russell is a member of the Community Partnership Management Committee plus being Chair of the Visitors & Tourism Group.  He has the responsibility of liaising with the annual Festival charity, which this year is the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice.   A big undertaking, involving keeping abreast with both the event organisers and the charity volunteers to keep up to date with plans for all occasions that are committed to raising funds for our charity of the year.   Luckily he is an architect by profession, so he is used to keeping projects on course !

Thank you to our wonderful 2021 sponsors, without whom our Festival would not take place

To find out more about them, please click on their logo

Cocoa Loco Logo
Higgidy Family Kitchen
Rushfields logo
The Sussex Grocer logo
West Grinstead & district ploughing & agricultural society logo

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