Portslade Hedgehoppers grew from Portslade Sports Centre Jogging Club which was formed by the then sports centre manager, Geoff Hodgson in the late 1970’s. The group met regularly on Sunday mornings at the sports centre and among the early runners were some who would eventually become Hedgehoppers.
Early in 1982, Norman Collingbourne, started to run with this group and after discussion with one of two others began work towards an official club, prior to that it had been a club in name only with no evidence of appointed officers or committee meetings. At the same time discussions were taking place which resulted in the formation of the West Sussex Fun Run League. Norman and Peter Hills attended a meeting in Horsham in October 1982 which led to creation of the league. Prior to attending the meeting a club name needed to be decided on. Norman came up with the idea of Portslade Hedgehoppers. To hedgehop, Norman said, is the ability to fly close to the ground. Enough said!
A league programme was drawn up for 1983 which included the Hedgehoppers 5, which has continued at roughly the same time every year since – with one exception when an epidemic of foot and mouth put paid to the race.
During the mid-1980’s the club’s walking section started up, initially with an organised monthly Sunday walk. This was quickly followed by a regularly Tuesday gathering at the sports centre, starting at the same time as the running group.
The Sunday walks were from a variety of venues across Sussex, generally starting and finishing at a suitable venue for a post-walk pub lunch. The Tuesday walks were weekly and started and finished at the sports centre for many years. In recent years the walkers start and finish from a variety of venues in the local area.
With thanks to Roy Tayor and his great little book ‘Portslade Hedgehoppers – The First 30 Years’