Fine ale and family fun help make a fantastic May fayre

BACON ROLLS Roger Backhouse, 49, from Buckland, Portsmouth made sure nobody went hungry.  Pictures: Malcolm Wells (121599-7014)
BACON ROLLS Roger Backhouse, 49, from Buckland, Portsmouth made sure nobody went hungry. Pictures: Malcolm Wells (121599-7014)

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THE rain came down – but that didn’t stop thousands of people raising a glass of ale and getting in the community spirit on the final day of the bank holiday weekend.

More than 10,000 visitors flocked to St Mary’s Church, in Fratton Road, Fratton for the annual May Fayre, an all-day fundraiser which has been held on the grounds of the church for more than 20 years.

FLAKE Four-year-old Lucie Phillips from Cowplain tucks into an ice cream

FLAKE Four-year-old Lucie Phillips from Cowplain tucks into an ice cream

Beer-lovers got to sample more than 40 Irving, Oakleaf and Bowman real ales from a tent.

For children of all ages there were games, pony rides, craft stalls and a bouncy castle.

Sandra Kelly, 39, of Landport, enjoyed the day with her partner Paul Shawyer, 38, and friend Simon Bridgen, 32.

Sandra said: ‘It’s the fourth year we’ve come along and it just keeps getting better every time.

‘I’ve been really impressed with the selection of real ales and I enjoyed browsing a tent which sold organic honey.’

Proceeds raised from the event went towards the upkeep of the church and businesses who pitched up stalls on the day.

The amount raised is due to be counted up by the end of the week.

Leah Noble, 17, of Stamshaw, stopped by with her parents Ian and Helen.

Leah said: ‘This is a brilliant community event. It brings everyone together and it helps to support the church.

‘I am a Christian myself so I believe strongly in the cause.’

Father Bob White, vicar of the church, said he was confident about reaching last year’s raised amount of £30,000.

‘Despite the rain, it’s amazing to see so many people coming through the doors like previous years. I believe we’re on course to match last year’s raised amount which is really good news.

‘People have been very generous in their giving.’

He added: ‘The atmosphere was great.’