Parade of more than 300 lanterns gets the party started at the 2019 Fratton Festival of Lights

ONE of the city’s busiest streets was aglow with community spirit tonight.

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 1:56 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 9:47 am

It came as the Fratton Festival of Lights made its sixth annual outing – drawing hundreds of residents for a parade of more than 300 homemade lanterns.

The spectacle made its way from The Royal British Legion, in Lucknow Street, up Fratton Road to St Mary’s Church, from 6.30pm.

It was there the fun continued into the evening as families were treated to circus displays, live samba music and hot drinks and snacks.

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Dancing with her technicolour LED cape,, Claire Jefferson-Jones, near St Mary's Church, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Keely Edwards and her son Anthony, three, took part in the procession for the first time.

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They embraced organisers’ theme of the sea by carrying UV fish lanterns.

‘I’ve been to the festival every year since it started but it was really good to be part of the parade for the first time,' said Keely, 36.

Batala Samba Band leading the parade through Fratton Road. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘There's a lot of trouble in the world and it’s brilliant that people have gone to the effort to do something as lovely as this for families to enjoy.’

Fratton residents who did not join the procession likely heard it, as drummers from the Batala Samba Band serenaded walkers.

For Father Bob White, vicar at St Mary’s Church and chairman of organising body Fratton Big Local, it was a proud night.

Dozens of families walking down Fratton Road with their Lanterns. Picture: Habibur Rahman

He said: ‘Coming up Fratton Road there was a real sense of the community buzzing and celebrating together. It was great.’

You can watch the parade as it happened in The News' Facebook Live from the event, above.

Dozens of families walking down Fratton Road with their Lanterns. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Jen Stoner and her daughter Alice, three, at the Festival of Lights. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Dozens of families walking down Fratton Road with their Lanterns. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Dozens of families walking towards St Mary's Church, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman