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Fun day tinged with sadness for last ever Forton Festival

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LOVED ones were remembered in a moving balloon release at the last ever Forton Festival.

Organiser Tammy Kent has called time on the festival, in Forton Recreation Ground, Gosport, that she has run with other residents for the past 11 years.

The single mum of six recently lost her beloved grandmother Gladys Kent and said the stress of dealing with her grief has made the organisation of the event too much.

On Saturday she invited the hundreds of people enjoying the event to join her in releasing balloons in memory of loved ones from the Gosport area they had lost.

The 39-year-old, who recently became a grandmother herself, said: ‘There was a comment 11-years-ago that this was a run-down area. We wanted to show people that there was much more to Forton so we started the festival.

‘What began as a bit of music, a few stalls and some food has grown to what it is now.

‘I’m really proud of what it has become but losing my grandmother was a massive blow. She wasn’t just my grandmother she my best friend too and I just can’t do this anymore.’

Scores of people bought balloons, including friends and family of tragic schoolgirls Olivia Lewry and Jasmine Allsop who died last year when they were hit by a car.

Also remembered was Joey Prew who died aged 17 when he fell from a bridge in Gosport.

But it was also an uplifting day for those who gathered to enjoy the fair, the children’s entertainment and the games.

Phyllis Varndell, 58, of Beryton Road, said: ‘I’ve come every year and every year it gets better and better.

‘The community get together, enjoy themselves.

‘It’s so nice to see all the youngsters together and having fun without getting into any bother.’

 

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