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Furze Field Manor Care Home Resident and Chef Win First Prize at Lindfield Village Day

Resident Derek John Forster, aged 91, and head chef Paul Smith Furze Field Manor, part of Oyster Care Homes have won first prize in the celebration cake category at the 46th annual Lindfield Village Day.

Lindfield Village Day, a cherished community event held each year on the Common, features over 120 stalls, a Competition Tent, a children’s dog show, a Food & Drink Quarter, and an arena for afternoon events and games. This year, the event saw the return of the grand procession down the High Street, with hundreds of villagers participating.

Derek Forster, a former Shell employee with a passion for traditional jazz, classical music, and brass bands, has been an avid baker since his retirement. Derek enjoys puzzling and doing paperwork for his son’s company using his computer. He has attended numerous concerts over the years and used to race a sailing dinghy every Sunday. After retiring, he completed a male-only cookery course, which further fuelled his interest in baking. Watching professional chefs work in their kitchens has always fascinated him, and collaborating with Paul on the cake was a delightful experience.

Paul Smith, who has been a chef for 20 years, previously worked in catering management for corporate catering companies and served as head chef at a retirement village. Together, they decided to enter the celebration cake category, combining their skills and love for chocolate to create a show-stopping cake.

“We wanted to create something that would represent Furze Field Manor and bring joy to the community,” said Derek Forster. “Winning first prize is a wonderful recognition of our teamwork and passion for baking.”

Paul Smith added, “Working with Derek has been an absolute pleasure. His enthusiasm for baking and keen eye for detail made this collaboration truly special. We’re thrilled to have our cake recognised for its flavour and decoration.”

The judge praised their cake as a “perfect showstopper for any celebration,” noting that it delivered on both flavour and decoration. While there was no physical prize, the accolade of first prize brought immense pride to Derek and Paul, as well as to the entire Furze Field Manor community.

 

 
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