Dozens parade with lanterns as Festival of Lights returns to Fratton

Saturday, 9th December 2017, 2:11 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th December 2017, 2:20 pm

Fratton Road was glowing as residents paraded through the street for the area’s fourth Festival of Lights.

Organised by Fratton Big Local and led by the Portsmouth-based Batala samba group, the fixture drew dozens of participants of all ages from nearby homes and shops.

Each person taking part carried a homemade lantern, which had been made at one of 14 hands-on workshops organised by FBL throughout November.

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Anna Potten is the group’s community development officer.

She said: ‘One of the things people feel about Fratton is it’s somewhere you pass through.

‘People don’t come to Fratton so we’ve done a number of things which make it feel special.

‘Workshops have taken place in schools, community centres, guides, choirs and Fratton Live at Home – which helps the elderly – so all kinds of people have been making lanterns together.’

The parade began at the British Legion Club at Fratton Bridge at 6.30pm and ended at St Mary’s Church, where celebrations went ond.

Festival-goers enjoyed displays from local circus group Top Banana and the Batala samba group – which specialises in drum-led Afro-Brazilian reggae.

Fratton resident, 38-year-old Brian Moles, went along to enjoy the event.

He said: ‘The festival is a really good focus point for people young and old alike.

‘It allows them to be creative and then come together as a group of all different ages, faiths, creeds and backgrounds to engage in something that is universal.’

Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Lee Mason said: ‘The people who have joined in today have helped put on a really good show. It’s making Fratton shine.

‘People need to have something in their community. We can’t neglect different parts of the city so it’s great that the people here are trying to improve their own area and provide something for people to do.’

Proving to be a popular event in previous years, Fratton’s Festival of Lights won a News We Can Do It award in 2016.