Chichester farm cow ‘made a grave for itself’

DEAD cows were puzzling the people of Slindon 25 years ago this month.

In the Chichester Observer, dated February 18, 1988, it was reported two mysterious holes had appeared on farmland, baffling National Trust staff.

The largest of the holes was discovered when a cow belonging to a dairy farmer went missing, and was later found dead in the six-foot deep hole.

“The cow literally made a grave for itself,” said Paul Wyatt, the farmer.

A second hole also appeared less than a mile from the first one. “My theory is that the sand below the topsoil, which is gravel, has washed away, so that it only takes something heavy to make the earth collapse,” added Mr Wyatt.

The following week, on February 25, the Chichester Observer reported on a one-year-old baby boy who escaped death ‘by seconds’ when a car smashed into a pushchair at East Wittering.

The pushchair was apparently reduced ‘to a mangled heap of twisted metal’.

The Observer reported: “Shoppers watched in horror on Saturday afternoon as the car careered across the road outside a village café where there is no pavement.

“Seconds before the car hit the push-chair and then went on to smash into the café, baby Kyle Ainsworth had been lifted out of the chair by his young aunt, Julie Ainsworth (21).”

In 1963, the area was still in the grip of the great freeze, and the front page of the Chichester Observer on February 1 dealt with havoc in Chichester Harbour, caused by the breaking up of pack ice.

Vessels were sunk, moorings ripped up and buoys swept away – the ice had reached a thickness of nine inches.

Other 50 years ago concerned a range of issues affecting the district, including a big rise in the rates being charged to West Sussex businesses.

The front page on February 15 said the bills would be the ‘biggest yet’ with increases running into ‘several pounds’.

The previous week, there had been uproar at the notion of introducing parking charges into Chichester, with six pence an hour being suggested.

The scheme was described as a ‘completely new departure’ by city councillors, when the Highways Committee forwarded a £14,520 plan to make the charges between 8.15am and 6.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays in six Chichester car parks.

And finally, on the front page of the Observer on February 22, 1963, it was announced the Tangmere Aerodrome was to close.

The squadron based there would move to Watton, in Norfolk. The prime reason given for the change was to concentrate resources.