Thousands flock to Fratton’s May Day fayre

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REVELLERS flocked in their thousands to enjoy one of the area’s biggest May Day celebrations yesterday.

The annual event at St Mary’s Church in Fratton attracted around 10,000 people through its gates.

Surrender Dance Company perform at the St Mary's May Day Fair. 
Picture by Habibur Rahman

Surrender Dance Company perform at the St Mary's May Day Fair. Picture by Habibur Rahman

Families enjoyed a diverse array of stalls, games and fun fair rides as well as a beer tent and live entertainment.

In the arena there were dance performances, singers, morris dancers and military drill displays.

And elsewhere at the site, animal lovers were able to get their fill with a petting zoo and pony ride course.

Patricia Warren, 39, was one those enjoying the fun with son Brandon. She said: ‘This is our first time here since moving to the Hilsea and it’s been fantastic. We didn’t expect it to be so busy.’

Eight-year-old George Hawkins, of Milton, was one of the youngsters performing at the arena with Portsmouth’s Surrender Dance Academy.

He said: ‘It was really good. I normally do competitions in front of bigger crowds. But it was still fun.’

Proud mum Katy, 36, said performing in front of crowds really helped to boost her son’s confidence. She added: ‘We have been coming here for 11 years. It’s always nice. Because Portsmouth is quite small you see lots of people you know. It brings the community together.’

The day also gave visitors a chance to speak to political parties ahead of next month’s general election.

And there was a chance for people to find out more about a range of community groups as well as learning some key life-saving skills from volunteers at St John Ambulance.

Ann Morgan, 72, of Buckland, said: ‘I have been here many, many times. It gets everybody out and gets people talking.

‘If you look around there’s an awful lot of older people who can be quite lonely. This helps get them out of the house.’

The event has been running at the church, off Fratton Road, for three decades.

Father Bob White, from St Mary’s Church, estimated that about 10,000 people attended this year’s spectacle. He said: ‘It’s been wonderful. It’s been busy all day and people have been having a whale of a time

‘This has been going for about 30 years and it’s a celebration of community life in Fratton.’

n See tomorrow’s News for more pictures from the event.