No doubt many of you have walked past the fountain at the junction of the Commercial Road and Arundel Street precincts in Portsmouth.
It was unveiled by the Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, on November 30, 1977, in commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee.
When the fountain was first opened and allowed to flow, it was thought to be a great asset for the shopping area, until the local yobs found a better use for it.
Before long it was used as an ashtray for cigarette butts and some thought it was great fun to throw packets of Persil and the like into the flowing water.
In November 1986, it wasn’t such a happy place for one young lad. He was shopping with his mother and, as children do, he sat on the perimeter of the fountain. Soap suds had built up and it looked like snow from a distance, when all of a sudden the young boy slid into water and disappeared into the bubbles.
As luck would have it, a passer-by saw his feet disappear and rushed over and grabbed him by the ankles, pulling the frightened young lad to safety. His mother will be eternally grateful to the man.
The lad must be about 30 by now. I wonder if he’s still in the area?