SUTTON hit the headlines earlier this week as the most ‘normal’ place in the UK.
But every action provokes a reaction, and as soon as Sutton was elevated to Number 1 spot, the hunt was on for those at the opposite end of the spectrum.
And in a list published in yesterday’s Guardian it seems that in among the top five ‘strangest places’ is East Grinstead.
Like Channel 4’s Discovery programme which devoted its Witness Special to asking the question Why East Grinstead? 20 years ago, the reason cited for our nomination is that East Grinstead is seen as the ‘cult’ capital of the country.
In recent years East Grinstead has been home to major headquarters buildings for several religious groups including Rosicrucians, Scientologists, Christian Scientists, the Ashworth Dowsers, the Pagan Federation, Opus Dei and the Church of The Latter Day Saints, not to mention a large number of other Christian denominations.
And by the Guardian’s reckoning this means that “an unusually high proportion” of the town population dislikes doctors, “believe that we are inhabited by the disembodied souls of people blown up in a huge volcano thousands of years ago, or worship a book stating that elephants used to roam around in America, along with Jesus Christ.”
So – are we unusually tolerant folk who go quietly about our daily business trying not to frighten the horses?
Or are we a bunch of loony tunes ready to embrace the beliefs of every snake-oil salesman who arrives on our doorstep with the secret to eternal life in a bottle?
As they used to say at the end of “O” level exams – Discuss.