Historic South Downs songs taught to a new generation

Chris Mole's picture of Cuckmere Valley
Image caption The South Downs became the UK's newest national park in April 2011

Historic songs sung across the South Downs will be taught to a new generation thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £50,000.

The project, organised by the South Downs Society, aims to bring back to life the area's traditional folk songs.

Workshops will be run in Chichester and Lewes, in Sussex, at the end of which all participants will be presented with a CD of their singing.

Social historian Chris Hare said "every song tells a unique story".

The workshops will begin in October and run through to March 2012.

The South Downs became the UK's newest national park in April 2011 and stretches from Winchester, in Hampshire, across to Eastbourne, in Sussex.

Mr Hare, who is leading the project for the South Downs Society, which was awarded £49,800, said: "Every song tells a unique story about the people, the countryside, and the customs of the South Downs in centuries gone by.

"They help us to learn about the lives of the people who lived and worked in the South Downs many years ago.

"There are love songs, drinking songs, songs about working on the Downs, and of riots caused by unemployment and hunger."

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