Families get their skates on at carnival to end festivities

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A CARNIVAL atmosphere resounded as around 40 youngsters and adults wheeled along in a procession.

Brightly-coloured bikes, roller-blades, skateboards and smiling children sped out of Castle Field, in Southsea, on Saturday.

WHEELY GOOD Portsmouth Wheelers were out in force. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (131832-833)

WHEELY GOOD Portsmouth Wheelers were out in force. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (131832-833)

The event, part of the Portsmouth Festivities finale, saw people decorate their rides with the help of local artists.

Mum Zoe Wilson, 28, of Whitworth Road, in Copnor, was with her daughter Hannah Burgess, five, and her decorated scooter.

Together with grandparents Jim, 64, and Alison Wilson, 66, they joined in the fun.

All of them wheeled from the field around Southsea Common and back – led by the Portsmouth Batala Band for the final revue in the field.

Zoe said: ‘I volunteer for St John Ambulance and we cover the event so I knew about it.

‘It’s been good fun, it’s brilliant.

‘We decorated her scooter and made masks and went around Southsea Common.

‘The band is really good – she’s loved it.’

The event marked the end – albeit a day before the actual finish – of the Portsmouth Festivities.

The annual 10-day mix of cultural activities, including arts, theatre, music, theatre, dance, literature and film.

It has this year seen around 12,000 people attend its many events across the city.

General manager of the festival Sam Worsey was running the wheel-a-thon.

She said: ‘This is our finale event, although we actually finish on Sunday.

‘This is our big community bang, something for everyone in Portsmouth to come and enjoy.

‘We’ve got loads of families here today, which is lovely.

‘It’s an opportunity for people to bring their wheels, decorate them and have a big celebration of life on wheels.’

She added the festivities have this year seen younger audiences at events.

And that is something borne out by Sally Cox, 35, of the Happy Hula Monkeys group, who brought along five-week-old daughter Violet.

Sally and her group offered a twist on the wheel theme – dressing up in a rock and roll style with their hoops, so they could ‘rock and roll.’

Sally said: ‘It’s been a great day, we’ve had lovely sunshine – you couldn’t have asked for better.’

She added she will be bringing along Violet next year.

‘And she’ll be hooping,’ Sally said.

‘We’ve been hooping our way round the procession.

‘We got invited along by the crafts people today to come and rock and roll.’