Annual church May Day fair is hailed as a sunny success

Morris men dance in the sunshine at the  St Mary's Church Fair in Portsmouth     Picture Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)
Morris men dance in the sunshine at the St Mary's Church Fair in Portsmouth Picture Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)
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THOUSANDS of people spent their bank holiday Monday in the sun at an annual church fair.

Crowds packed into St Mary’s Church fair in Fratton yesterday for the May Day event, which has been taking place every year since 1992.

The Tait family from Fratton at the St Mary's Church May fair     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1

The Tait family from Fratton at the St Mary's Church May fair 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180471-1

The free event saw all profits donated to the church, with dance, music and other demonstrations all day long.

More than 10,000 people were expected to attend throughout the day, with 90 volunteers also dedicating their time to help make the day a success.

Since its inception, the St Mary’s Church May Day fair has raised more than £77,000.

Groups such as the Victory Morris and Pan Parade Steel Band entertained visitors throughout the day – with a number of charities also present.

Bright sunshine greets crowds at the St Mary's Church fair   Picture Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)

Bright sunshine greets crowds at the St Mary's Church fair Picture Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)

One of those charities was South Coast Rabbit Rescue, based in Portsmouth.

Vanessa Taylor, who runs the charity, said: ‘Today has been brilliant – absolutely brilliant.

‘We come along almost every year and it is always great fun.

‘It is even busier than last year and the weather is lovely – we’ve shaded off the rabbits and are keeping them topped up with water, and are offering water for dogs that are here as well.’

Gilbert Kulakowski and his dog Bruno at the St Mary's Church May fair ' Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Gilbert Kulakowski and his dog Bruno at the St Mary's Church May fair ' Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Mark Broom, 50 from Portsmouth, said: ‘The fair has been very good.

‘We come very year but the weather this time around has been particularly good – it’s nice and warm.

‘It’s a very weather-dependent event but it is always nice to come and spend the day down here.

‘For me, the beer tent is the place to come – but I always enjoy the jazz stuff that is here as well.’

Stall holders Jackie Carhill and Tracey Norris at the St Mary's Church May fair   'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)

Stall holders Jackie Carhill and Tracey Norris at the St Mary's Church May fair 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome officially opened the event.

He said: ‘Today has been brilliant.

‘I’ve had the pleasure of opening the actual show today – as well as opening the beer tent.

‘I think there has been a fantastic turnout as well. There are lots of people here and obviously it has been good weather for it – everyone is just having a great time.

‘The only downside for me is that it’s cost me a fortune buying plants for the Lady Mayoress!’

Linda and David Goodfellow enjoy the hot sunshine at the St Mary's Church May fair     Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)

Linda and David Goodfellow enjoy the hot sunshine at the St Mary's Church May fair Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)

PCSO Aaron Kildea chats with Diana Mullett and her daughter Lisa Boden at the St Mary's Church May fair     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)

PCSO Aaron Kildea chats with Diana Mullett and her daughter Lisa Boden at the St Mary's Church May fair 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)

A steel band entertained at the St Mary's Church May fair     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180471-1)

A steel band entertained at the St Mary's Church May fair 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180471-1)