Big community support for 10th Forton Festival

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A ROAD’S former bad reputation inspired a festival which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month.

Forton Fest was started a decade ago by residents of Beryton Road, Gosport, who were fed up with the area’s image for anti-social behaviour and drug use.

From small beginnings as an annual family fun day on Forton Recreation Ground, Forton Road, the event has grown to include music, activities for children, great food and craft stalls.

Tammy Kent has been at the helm as chairwoman for the duration.

The 38-year-old grandmother said: ‘I’m proud that five generations of my family will be there and I know each one will enjoy themselves because there is something for everyone.

‘There’s a small team that organises it each year. We have live music throughout the day, and there’s only one artist who isn’t Gosport born and bred. The youngest performer is 15-year-old Lacey-Love who sings everything from Adele to The Jam.

‘We have Dave Smith and Peter Wallis to thank for the music. They provide the PA and everything needed free of charge. I can’t thank them enough. Lynne Pyle also helps and she is brilliant.’

The support for the festival was demonstrated in May when a community panel voted for Forton Fest to receive £1,200 of council funding through You Decide.

Tammy said: ‘It was really nerve-wracking.

‘I had to explain how important the festival was to the community, alongside people from 18 other good causes.

‘The panel voted for us to get the money and we were over the moon. It shows this is a community event that welcomes everyone.’

Youngsters will be entertained by actors dressed as stars from film and television, and can enjoy fairground rides and traditional games.

Tammy has made sure that all the rides and stalls are inexpensive so the family day out doesn’t cost the earth.

She said: ‘I’ve got six children so I know how expensive it is taking the whole family out for the day.

‘I’ve made it clear that prices need to be kept low so that everyone can afford to enjoy themselves.’

As well as the usual food stalls there will also be gluten-free food and low-fat cakes on sale.

The free event is open to everyone. It is from 10am to 7pm on August 31.