Community pull together to provide a Taste of Wickham

SKILL Isaac Mulhall, left, with Callum Garrard, both 17 and students at Fareham College studying hospitality and catering. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150913-4429)
SKILL Isaac Mulhall, left, with Callum Garrard, both 17 and students at Fareham College studying hospitality and catering. Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150913-4429)

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Organisers of the Taste of Wickham festival are celebrating once again after more than 5,000 people flocked to the market town’s medieval square last Sunday.

More than 60 stalls filled the square, some selling locally-produced food, drink or crafts and others handing out samples to promote their services.

Cookery demonstrations by local chefs alternated with live musical performances, while children enjoyed the bouncy castle, craft activities and face painting, all put on without charge.

The Southern Co-operative provided the financial support for the free entertainment and also ran a stand for visitors to taste the local cheese, chocolate and ales from the store’s Local Flavours range.

Store manager Stuart Heaton said: ‘It was a fantastic day allowing local businesses and individuals to truly showcase their products and services.

‘It was a real pleasure for The Southern Co-operative to sponsor this year’s event and presented us with a fantastic opportunity to not only raise awareness of our locally sourced range, but also further support our wonderful local community.’

Chairman of the organising team and local butcher Ben Sawyers said this year’s festival involved even more of the local community.

‘Taste of Wickham is all about showing off everything that makes Wickham so special, and we really wanted to strike a balance between offering people things to buy, eat and drink and introducing them to local activities, musicians and organisations,’ he said.

‘The achievement of this aim was clear to see around the site. Wickham Tennis Club’s mobile court, for example, was occupied throughout the day, and the cookery demonstrations and music performances attracted huge audiences.’

Local organisations, residents, business owners and volunteers pulled together to organise it all. Army Cadets from Bishop’s Waltham and Fareham, Police Cadets from Portsmouth, Rotarians from Fareham and Lions from Meon Valley were among those also helping out on the day.

The event was opened by Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Angela Clear, who is also chairman of Wickham Parish Council and a long-term resident of the town.