How many years of Jack in the Green?
On the back of Keith Leech’s superb and lavishly illustrated record of Hastings’ biggest annual festival, he writes “It is now 25 years since the revival of the Hastings Jack in the Green in May 1983”.
My daughter was a teenager, I think, when I first took her along, and we got all excited, following the procession that, back then, used to take over the whole seafront, and drum and whoop and shout its way through the town and up to the castle by the proper way in.
I won’t say how old she is now but like many in Hastings, we have so many memories of how that unique festival day changed and grew – with the combined mayhem of the morris gathering, the three-day sing-around in the pubs, and the huge bikers’ rally culminating on the seafront in the middle of it all.
It’s been a joy, a benchmark of joy of what it was to bring up a family in Hastings and Leech’s book (which I bought a batch of over ten years ago!) is the very, very best memento of it all I have come across.
If you’re buying a Christmas gift for a Hastings lover, you can’t do better than buying them this – the Spirit of Summer under the Christmas tree.
Hastings Traditional Jack in the Green by Keith Leech, photography by Peter Stevens, is £7.95. I have around half a dozen copies left. I’m keeping one forever, but that leaves a few spare, so if you’re in or near Hastings, contact me to have a copy delivered to your door, post-free.