Thousands enjoy church’s massive May fair

CROWDS The May Fayre at St Mary's Church in Fratton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131234-962)
CROWDS The May Fayre at St Mary's Church in Fratton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131234-962)
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

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The community is set to benefit to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds thanks to one of the biggest May Day fairs in years.

St Mary’s Church, in Fratton, was the scene of fun and games yesterday as around 15,000 people enjoyed the traditional fairground rides and watched performances in the arena.

Father Bob White said the weather was a big bonus and drew families from across the area to the annual extravaganza.

‘We think about 15,000 people have been through the doors,’ said Fr White.

‘The arena events have been very popular – particularly the dance academy.

‘For me, the best thing about the day is watching people come together to enjoy themselves and celebrate.

‘And I’m so pleased with the weather.

‘It rained last year so we were owed some sunshine this time.’

It is hoped around £15,000 will be raised for the church funds.

On top of that the large number of charities and good causes which took stalls at the event are expecting to make around £300 each.

That means the fair is a huge benefit to the community as well as being a fun event.

Fr White added: ‘I enjoy seeing people have a really good time while using the church space.’

Janet Walker, from Southsea, visited the fair with her daughter and two grandchildren.

She said: ‘It was a really lovely day.

‘We’ve all enjoyed ourselves. We come every year but for the past few years it’s been raining. The children have enjoyed the rides.’

There was traditional May fair entertainment such as Morris Dancing and Punch and Judy as well as a demonstration from the E.N.S.K.A karate school, the Surrender Dance Academy and the Portsmouth City Band.

The brass band performed a wide range of music – from classical to chart hits.

Travelling showman Nathan Lee has been taking his sideshow to the event for many years.

He charges £1 to guess the age of the participant.

He said: ‘This is the best event I go to all year.

‘I love the atmosphere and the fact everyone is happy.’