Knock-out fun at festival

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YOUNGSTERS try their hand at sparring with professional boxers, while families enjoy food on the grass nearby and children race each other around a go-kart track.

From humble beginnings, Gosport’s Forton Fest has become a regular fixture in the town’s calendar, and this year’s event proved even more popular than the last.

31/08/13   ESB''Familes and friends enjoy a day out at the Forton Fest Community Event at Forton Park in Gosport. Amanda Holloway from Gosport Amateur boxing club with Megan Davis (nine), 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132410-11)

31/08/13 ESB''Familes and friends enjoy a day out at the Forton Fest Community Event at Forton Park in Gosport. Amanda Holloway from Gosport Amateur boxing club with Megan Davis (nine), 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132410-11)

Forton Fest began 10 years ago when people living in Beryton Road, Gosport, became fed up with the area’s image for anti-social behaviour and drug use.

The event had small beginnings, with only a handful of attractions and 
stalls.

Now, a decade later, hundreds of people packed the recreation ground to listen to live music and enjoy fun and games with their families.

Organiser Tammy Kent, the 38-year-old who has been at the helm of the festival since its creation, said: ‘This tenth festival has been absolutely brilliant.

‘When you stand here and look around at all the people who are here enjoying themselves, and all the things there are for people to do, it just seems amazing.

‘Everybody here has worked together to make this event what it is and I am so grateful to them.

‘As I’m walking around, people come up and say thank you, and that means a lot.’

Youngsters were entertained by actors dressed as stars from film and television, and there were also fairground rides and traditional games.

There were also a number of sport-themed events for people to enjoy.

Amanda Holloway, 37, of Moat Drive in Gosport, is a coach with Gosport Boxing Club.

She said: ‘We’ve been having young people come up all day and have a go at boxing. Many of them have never tried it before but find that it’s good fun.

‘It’s all about letting people try something new and active that they might not have tried before and hopefully they will go on to take it up. To get people interested in sport you have to bring it out to them rather than just waiting for them to come to you.’

Forton Fest was given a boost earlier this year when a community panel made up of Gosport residents voted for the event to receive a £1,200 grant from council funding.