Portsmouth Festival of Light hailed huge success by community

Paul Jones and Clare Jefferson-Jones at the Festival of Lights''Picture: Sarah Standing (161629-8690)
Paul Jones and Clare Jefferson-Jones at the Festival of Lights''Picture: Sarah Standing (161629-8690)
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A SPLASH of colour came to Fratton as creative families paraded carrot, pot plant, strawberry and bee-inspired lanterns through the streets.

Hundreds of people walked through Fratton Road before finishing at St Mary’s Church for hot drinks and snacks.

It’s about doing something with the community. There’s a lot of people here we wouldn’t normally associate with. The turnout is amazing.

Amy Steinton, group leader for 8th Portsmouth Girls’ Brigade

The Festival of Light was put on by Fratton Big Local, an organisation dedicated to improving prospects and opportunities in the area.

In November, residents worked with artists from Splodge Designs to create garden and growing-themed lanterns for the occasion.

Children from 8th Portsmouth Girls’ Brigade showed their support.

Group leader, Amy Steinton, said: ‘It’s the chance to be hands-on and it doesn’t matter about the mess. It’s about doing something with the community. There’s a lot of people here we wouldn’t normally associate with. The turnout is amazing.’

Fratton mum Ilse Blandford, who came with Bonnie, four, and 18-month-old Belle, said: ‘I went to Asda on Saturday, and the people from Fratton Big Local were in there making stuff.

‘We listened to what they were doing and decided to come along. My children love the church.

‘We’ve had loads of fun.’

Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Ken Ellcome, said: ‘Lots of people have turned out, a lot of groups from schools have been making lanterns over the last number of weeks – that’s really good getting them involved.’

Canon Bob White, of St Mary’s Church, said: ‘It’s been a great success; we suspect around 300 people were in the procession.

‘There’s been a great atmosphere and a great cross-section of the community getting involved.’