Visitors enjoy a day of music and fun at Gosport's St Vincent College

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Almost 2,000 people flocked to St Vincent College in Gosport on Saturday for a day of entertainment and family fun.

The college’s third annual Summer Fest was busy all day despite gloomy skies at the start but by the afternoon the sun was out and even the Red Arrows, en route to Portsmouth’s Armed Forces Day and D-Day commemoration, made a brief appearance.

The main attraction of the event is always six hours of live entertainment from the college’s talented music students but with a circus skills workshop from Storm In A Teacup Circus, rock climbing on the college’s climbing wall, hockey, go-karts, face painting and other activities there was plenty for families to enjoy.

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Executive Principal Andy Grant said the event is a chance to throw open St Vincent’s doors to the community. “It was a fantastic event once again and I’m very grateful to all of the students and staff who put so much into making it a success,” he said. “We were supported by Iris Innovations, who were the main sponsor, and it was lovely to have Gosport Mayor Richard Earle and Mayoress Debbie Sherman there to present the prizes.

Lennon Taylor performing at St Vincent College's Summer FestLennon Taylor performing at St Vincent College's Summer Fest
Lennon Taylor performing at St Vincent College's Summer Fest

“Because we are such an integral part of the Gosport community and we touch so many families’ lives through our vocational, A-Level and adult education, it was great to see so many people who’ve studied here with their loved ones, as well as welcoming a lot of people who have never been here before.”

Cllr Earle spent more than an hour at the event, meeting stallholders and students before drawing the raffle prize-winners. Proceeds from the raffle went to charities including Gosport Amateur Boxing Club, who gave a display of their members’ skills, The Trash can Café and autism and ADHD support group Marvels and Meltdowns.

Boxing club coach Danny Gerlack said the day was a good way of promoting what it has to offer young people. “It was good to be out here and meeting people to talk about what we do and how we help the young people we work with, we really enjoyed it,” he said.

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Marvels and Meltdown’s co-founder Shandrika Day said the group attends as many events as it can to spread the word about its services. “We’re well known for our teddy tombola at events and it’s always good to meet new parents because not everyone knows about us,” she said. “It was great to be back at the Summer Fest, it’s a really good event.”

Gosport Mayor Richard Earle and Mayoress Debbie Sherman with college staffGosport Mayor Richard Earle and Mayoress Debbie Sherman with college staff
Gosport Mayor Richard Earle and Mayoress Debbie Sherman with college staff

Other exhibitors included Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary and Love Outdoors, a social enterprise promoting outdoor activities to improve mental and physical health and reduce social isolation.

With more than a dozen St Vincent student bands performing there was no shortage of live music. There was also a special guest in Fareham singer songwriter Lennon Taylor who was a popular addition to the line-up.

It was a bittersweet occasion for music teacher Chris Harris who is leaving the college at the end of the summer term for a job in Gibraltar. “It was a brilliant day and the students loved performing for their families and friends as well as all the visitors. They really enjoy performing so this was a great chance to show what they can do.

“I’m obviously sad about leaving the college after ten years here, I’ve loved my time here and working with so many fantastic young musicians has been a joy.”