Thousands line streets for Portchester’s Gala

SMILES The Andy Pandy pre-school at the Portchester Gala.  Pictures: Steve Reid (122053-950)
SMILES The Andy Pandy pre-school at the Portchester Gala. Pictures: Steve Reid (122053-950)
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THE sun shone on this year’s Portchester Gala as thousands turned out for the annual community carnival.

Despite fears that it would be called off by bad weather, Saturday’s festivities drew huge crowds of around 4,000 people.

FANCY DRESS Castle Primary School's Greek Olympics at the Portchester Gala.  (122053-986)

FANCY DRESS Castle Primary School's Greek Olympics at the Portchester Gala. (122053-986)

With a history dating back more than 100 years, the event included a procession through the village followed by performances, games and stalls in the grounds of Portchester Castle.

A total of 16 floats entered the parade, representing everything from the Andy Pandy Pre-school to Fareham Heathens Rugby Club, and hundreds of parents lined the streets to cheer and wave at their youngsters.

Gemma Denton, 26, of St James Way, Portchester, came to watch her daughter Chloe – dressed as a Greek Olympian – take part for the fifth year in a row.

‘She loves it every year,’ Gemma said. ‘We always have a brilliant time.’

Chloe said: ‘It’s really exciting. Every year we dress up differently, so my family always get to see me as something different. We have loads of fun.’

Organised for the fourth time by the Portchester Community Association the day also featured performances from Aziza Belly Dance and the Hampshire Caledonian Pipe Band, along with a royalty look-alike competition and a range of charity and craft stalls.

Manager of the association, Sarah Moss, said after last week’s rain had flooded their usual car parking field she was worried the day wouldn’t happen.

‘It’s amazing so many people turned up,’ she said.

‘I have to say a big thank you to the 60 volunteers who really worked hard to make it happen.’