Portsmouth streets light up for festival

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IT WAS a cold and wet Wednesday evening, but community spirit still shone through as a group of people paraded through their neighbourhood in a show of pride.

The festival of lights took place in Fratton last night. Organised by Fratton Big Local, people made their own lanterns and marched through the streets to show them off, to the sound of a samba band, who covered themselves and their drums in tinsel and lights.

143514_FRATTON_17/12/14''A Festival of Lights organised by Fratton Big Local, at St Mary's Church, Fratton, Portsmouth.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143514-240) PPP-141217-213258001

143514_FRATTON_17/12/14''A Festival of Lights organised by Fratton Big Local, at St Mary's Church, Fratton, Portsmouth.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143514-240) PPP-141217-213258001

Stuart Mills is from Fratton Big Local and organised the event. He said: ‘We thought it was a really good opportunity to bring people together in Fratton.

‘Over the past few weeks, we have been doing workshops and making lanterns with lots of different groups and schools to bring them together in one event where people can take part in something that makes a real impact on the area.’

Stuart said he was pleased with the turnout.

‘It’s a good number of people for a wet, midweek evening just before Christmas,’ he said.

143514_FRATTON_17/12/14''A Festival of Lights organised by Fratton Big Local, at St Mary's Church, Fratton, Portsmouth.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143514-153) PPP-141217-213214001

143514_FRATTON_17/12/14''A Festival of Lights organised by Fratton Big Local, at St Mary's Church, Fratton, Portsmouth.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143514-153) PPP-141217-213214001

The group walked along Fratton Road, from the Royal British Legion, up to the courtyard at St Mary’s Church.

Father Bob White is the chairman of Fratton Big Local. He added: ‘It’s about celebrating the life of Fratton and the community that is here and how if we brighten up our community, we bring light to it.’

Kim Budd is an English teacher at the Harbour School in Fratton, which teaches children with behavioural difficulties. Children at the school helped to make the lanterns.

She said: ‘It’s important for our children to get involved in community projects. A lot of our kids don’t feel connected to the community. This is a way of getting them involved in something positive.’

Helen Leech, an art teacher at the school, added: ‘It’s a nice way of bringing everybody together, of all ages.

‘We have leant some of our lanterns to members of the public to hold. It’s nice to see. The children would be proud to see them being carried by other people.’