What better year to hold a water festival!

Alison Mace (8) taking part in the water cycle demonstration at last year's festival
Alison Mace (8) taking part in the water cycle demonstration at last year's festival
The fragment from the Union Jack believed to have flown on board HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Credit: Sotheby's

Flag from HMS Victory and Lord Nelson’s love letters up for sale at London auction

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WHETHER it’s torrential rain, floods, or hosepipe bans, water has never been far from the headlines this year.

And water will be top of the agenda next month for a festival in Havant.

Hampshire Water Festival is aimed at promoting the importance of water for everything we do in our day-to-day lives.

The free event, which takes place at Staunton Country Park for the fourth year running on July 14 and 15, is set to be biggest and best yet.

For the first time, a Proms-style concert and firework display will take place in the spectacular setting of the park’s ornamental lake.

The Sunday concert has been organised to mark the Olympic torch coming to Portsmouth on July 15.

Organiser Lulu Bowerman, from Emsworth, said: ‘I pushed for it because the torch is not coming through Havant.

‘It’s going past in the morning very early.

‘There was nothing going on in Havant to celebrate the Olympics and I wanted to put on a show for people.

‘Hopefully it will be a party in the park. I shall be dancing!’

The weekend will be crammed with fun.

There will be 15 Olympic sports for people to try out, including rowing, volleyball, hockey and gymnastics.

Pond-dipping and fishing sessions will be on offer all weekend, as well as ‘water walking’ on the lake on Saturday.

The evening concert will feature Highbury Area Band, an opera singer and girl band The Three Belles.

There will be more than 50 food and drink stalls.

The event is the biggest on the Havant calendar, regularly attracting more than 10,000 people.

Last year, 5,000 people turned out, despite heavy rain.

Mrs Bowerman said: ‘I was hanging on to gazebos trying to say it was all going fine.

‘It was wet but we managed to soldier on.’

She added: ‘If it’s raining, it’s a water festival, so I can’t complain.

‘If it’s hot and dry weather, people are more aware of being careful with their water.’

The event is supported by Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council, and Portsmouth Water.

Doors will open from 10am to 5pm on the Saturday, and from 10am until late on the Sunday.