Worthing's motto is the Latin Ex terra copiam e mari salutem, which translates as 'From the land plenty and from the sea health'.[9]

The classic British seaside and vibrant town centre of Worthing provides the ideal spot for exploring the attractions all around you - from the refreshing open spaces of the South Downs National Park to the natural beauty, fascinating history and many cultural delights throughout the region of Adur.

Another village with a similar name near Emmen in Drenthe in the Northeastern part of the Netherlands is Weerdinge.

Worthing remains part of the two-tier structure of local government, with some services being provided by West Sussex County Council. The town currently returns nine councillors to the county council from nine single member electoral divisions.[14]

In the visual arts, painter Copley Fielding lived at 5 Park Crescent in the mid-18th century.[137] and more recently Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin created cult comic figure Tank Girl while at college in the town in the 1980s.[159] The town has a famous work by sculptor Elisabeth Frink. Uniquely in England, Desert Quartet (1990), Frink's penultimate sculpture, was given Grade II* listing in 2007, less than 30 years from its creation. It may be seen on the building opposite Liverpool Gardens.

In 2008, Worthing was in the top 10 urban areas in England for jobs in each of three key sectors, thought to have a significant impact on economic performance: creative, high-tech industries and knowledge-intensive business services.[87] The 2012 UK Town and City Index from Santander UK ranked Worthing as the second highest town or city in the UK for connectivity[88] and ranked fifth in the UK overall out of 74 towns and cities.[88]

Worthing Hospital is administered by the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust.[127] The 500-bed facility on Lyndhurst Road was founded in 1881 as an 18-bed infirmary.[124][128] It replaced older hospitals on Ann Street and Chapel Road.[128] Other medical care facilities include two mental health units (Greenacres and Meadowfield Hospital)[129][130] and a 38-bed private hospital in the Grade II-listed Goring Hall.

Worthing is included in the South East England constituency for elections to the European Parliament.

Splash FM is Worthing's local commercial radio station. Launched in 2003 by local residents Roy Stannard and David Cunningham and now owned by Media Sound Holdings Ltd, it broadcasts from the Guildbourne Centre on 107.7FM.[192] Heart Sussex, a Global Radio-owned commercial station, also covers Worthing.[193] BBC Local Radio coverage is provided by BBC Sussex.[194]

Pale yellow bricks have been made locally since about 1780, and are commonly encountered as a building material.[168] Flint is the other predominant structural material: its local abundance has ensured its frequent use. The combination of flint and red brick is characteristic of Worthing. In particular, walls built alongside streets or to mark out boundaries were almost always built of flint with brick dressings, especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.[169]

The town contains a considerable number of parks and gardens, many laid out in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

According to legend, a tunnel several miles long led from the now-demolished medieval Offington Hall to the Neolithic flint mines and Iron Age hill fort at Cissbury. It was said to be sealed, and there was treasure at the far end; the owner of the Hall "had offered half the money to anyone who would clear out the subterranean passage and several persons had begun digging, but all had been driven back by large snakes springing at them with open mouths and angry hisses".[171][174]

Worthing's location between the sea and the downs makes the area a popular location for outdoor recreation. Its wide open water and five miles of coastline provides for many types of watersport, especially catamaran racing, windsurfing and kitesurfing and the town has held a regatta for rowing since at least 1859.

Many films and television programmes have been filmed using Worthing as the backdrop including: Pinter's The Birthday Party (1968),[150] directed by William Friedkin (best known for directing The French Connection in 1971 and The Exorcist in 1973), Dance with a Stranger (1985)[151] and Wish You Were Here (1987).[151]

Completed regeneration projects include the reopening of the Dome Cinema in 2007 after major investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and a £5.5 million mixed-use development on the site of a former hotel near Teville Gate.[105]

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Boat porches are a unique architectural feature of Worthing. These structures surround the entrance doors of some early 19th-century houses, and take the form of an stuccoed porch with an ogee-headed roof which resembles the bottom of a boat. Historians have speculated that the cottages, examples of which are in Albert Place, Warwick Place and elsewhere, may have been built by local fishermen who used their boats as a basis for the design.[82]

Worthing is served by the BBC South television studios based in Southampton,[187][188] BBC South East from Tunbridge Wells, and by the ITV franchise Meridian Broadcasting, also with studios in Southampton.[189] Television signals come from the Rowridge or Whitehawk Hill transmitters.[190][191]

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At an election meeting on 16 October 1933, Budd revealed he was now a member of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). He was duly re-elected and the national press reported that Worthing was the first town in the country to elect a fascist councillor.[12]

The offical tourism website for Worthing and surrounding areas

Worthing Museum and Art Gallery was built in 1908 as the town's museum and library. Alfred Cortis, the first mayor of Worthing, and the international philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded the construction.[157] West Sussex County Council built a new library in 1975[158] and the museum has had a chequered history ever since, fighting off closure in 2003 with the support of local residents.[citation needed]

Worthing Hockey Club was formed in 1896 and has a number of teams. The home pitches are at Manor Sports Ground.[197]

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Denton Gardens is home to an 18 Hole Mini Golf Course which is due to host the British Masters Mini Golf Championships in April 2012.

For three days in 1970 a field on the outskirts of Worthing was the site of the Phun City music festival, the UK's first large-scale free music festival.[160]

The borough of Worthing has about 50 active Christian places of worship. There is also a mosque, which follows the Sunni tradition.[46] There are also 16 former church buildings which are either disused or in secular use.

In January, the ancient custom of wassailing takes place in Tarring to bless the apple trees. A flaming torchlit procession takes place down Tarring High Street culminating in hundreds of people gathering around an apple tree to shout, chant and sing to drive away evil spirits.[176] The apple trees are toasted with wassail, apple cider and apple cake, followed by fireworks.[177]

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There are 213 listed buildings in the borough of Worthing. Three of these—Castle Goring, St Mary's Church at Broadwater and the Archbishop's Palace at West Tarring—are classified at Grade I, which is used for buildings "of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important".[161] Worthing Pier, Park Crescent, Beach House and several churches are also listed.[162]

The Midsummer Tree, an oak, stands near Broadwater Green and is said to be around 300 years old. Until the 19th century, it was believed that on Midsummer's Eve skeletons would rise from the tree and dance around it until dawn, when they would sink back into the ground.[170] The legend was first recorded by folklorist Charlotte Latham in 1868.[171] Since 2006, when the oak was saved from development, meetings have been held on Midsummers Eve there.[172]

The South Downs is popular for hiking and mountain-biking, with around 22 trail-heads within the borough. Two of Worthing's three golf clubs, including Worthing Golf Club are also located on the Downs, which is also the location for the Three Forts Marathon, a 27-mile ultramarathon from Broadwater to the three Iron Age hill forts of Cissbury Ring, Chanctonbury Ring and Devil's Dyke.

The borough of Worthing comprises many smaller districts some of which share their names – although not necessarily boundaries – with local electoral wards:

Worthing

The town has two members of parliament (MPs): Tim Loughton (Conservative) for East Worthing and Shoreham, who was Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families;[15] and Peter Bottomley (Conservative) for Worthing West.[16] At the 2010 general election, both were safe Conservative seats and have been held by their incumbents since the seats' creation before the 1997 general election.

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Worthing F.C., nicknamed "The Rebels", is the town's main football club which formed in 1886.[195] They play in the Isthmian League Division One South. Worthing United F.C. who are nicknamed 'the "Mavericks" play in the Division One of the Sussex County League.[196]

The borough's coat of arms includes three silver mackerel, a Horn of Plenty overflowing with corn and fruit on a cloth of gold, and the figure of a woman, considered likely to be Hygieia, the ancient Greek goddess of health, holding a snake. The images represent the health given from the seas, the fullness and riches gained from the earth and the power of healing.[9][10]

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Older local people sometimes claim that the name of Worthing is derived from a natural annual phenomenon. Seaweed beds off nearby Bognor Regis are ripped up by summer storms and prevailing Atlantic currents deposit it on the beach. A rich source of nitrates, it makes good fertiliser. The decaying weed was sought by farmers from the surrounding area. Thus the town would have become known as Wort (weed) -inge (people).[citation needed]