IN PICTURES: Wickham Horse Fair 2018: Hundreds turn out for the annual event

HUNDREDS of people turned out to celebrate one of the country's oldest fairs.

Monday, 21st May 2018, 5:20 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:40 am
The 2018 Wickham Horse Fair Picture: Malcolm Wells (180521-5408)

Wickham Horse Fair has been held every year since a royal decree in 1269 and gypsy communities from across the country travelled for the event held in Wickham Square.

Horses were paraded up and down the main street and sold to the highest bidder.

Ed Goddard and his partner Faye Townsend brought along seven-month-old Armani for her first fair.

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The 2018 Wickham Horse Fair Picture: Malcolm Wells (180521-5408)

Ed said: ‘I bought some horses up north and I have come down to sell them here and this is Armani’s first fair.

‘I have sold five so far and hoping to sell more before the end of the day.’

Faye, 25, added: ‘I have been coming here for the last couple of years and it has been nice to bring Armani to her first one.’

Traders lined the streets selling a mix of equine equipment while food stalls kept the crowds fed and watered in the heat.

The 2018 Wickham Horse Fair. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180521-9692)

Clifford Williams and his wife came down from Devon to the fair.

Clifford said: ‘We have family in Portsmouth and they said we should come along as it such a great event.

‘So this is our first time and we would definitely come again as it such a spectacular event and so interesting to see it all.’

He added: ‘This weather is beautiful as well and it is great to have so much sun and heat for an event like this.’

The 2018 Wickham Horse Fair. Ed Goddard, Faye Townsend and baby Armani. Picture: Malcolm Wells (180521-9652)

Police officers were joined by representatives from the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities to monitor the day.

RSPCA Chief Inspector Paul Williams said: ‘It is important to have an RSPCA presence at Wickham Horse Fair as there are many members of the public here and they come to us with their concerns over horses’ welfare and then we can address them.’

Last year the RSPCA seized one ‘emaciated’ colt from the owner and asked for ten others to be removed from show and sale at the event.

Ch Insp Williams, who has been attending the fair for the last 20 years, said: ‘This year there have been a couple of horses on the lean side and these have been inspected.

‘The majority of the horses brought to the fair today have been kept in good condition.’