Stars of the silver screen support new arts festival

Tom Courteney, left, his wife Izzy, and Albert Finney enjoying lunch on the Tuppeny Barn bike ride.
Tom Courteney, left, his wife Izzy, and Albert Finney enjoying lunch on the Tuppeny Barn bike ride.
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LEGENDARY actors Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay joined dozens of others to celebrate a major arts festival in Emsworth.

The actors were supporting Wemsfest, a two-week festival which takes in venues across Emsworth and Westbourne.

They were at the forefront of the 1960s kitchen sink dramas and went on to become huge Hollywood actors.

Finney, who lives in Emsworth, will appear in the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, as Kincade, in November.

Their wives joined them at the Tuppenny Barn Education Centre, at Southbourne, on Sunday where a picnic lunch was provided by award-winning Emsworth restaurant, Fat Olives, for those who had taken part in a charity bike ride.

Wemsfest runs until Sunday. One of the highlights so far has been much-loved comic actress June Whitfield’s appearance at Westbourne Parish Hall.

Organiser Mark Ringwood said: ‘It’s been absolutely brilliant, better than we could ever have hoped for.

‘Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay didn’t take part in the bike ride but wanted to join us for the picnic at Tuppenny Barn because they wanted to support what they do there. It was great to see them. The highlight of the festival so far has been the comedy night at the White Horse last Friday.

‘Eight of the shows have sold out and the rest have been very well supported.

‘June Whitfield was superb and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

‘The interview with Robert Redfern was spot on and he allowed her plenty of space to ad lib.

‘She was so natural.’

There is plenty more going on at the festival, which runs until Sunday.

Tomorrow there will be Latin, Spanish and Celtic music at Libbys, in The Square, Westbourne, with Chile and Chilli, while author Wendy Metcalfe gives a talk on how to publish an e-book.

Music lovers will be spoilt for choice because Fidil will be performing traditional Irish folk at St John the Baptist Church, in Westbourne on the same night.

On Friday bluesmen Johnny Mars and Julian Piper will be at The Westbourne Club, River Street and on Saturday Simon Mayor and the Mandolinquets will put on a concert at St James Church, Emsworth.

There are many other shows. To buy tickets go to or pop into Book Ends in Emsworth.