GALLERY: Bethany’s photo special on March Festival rock night and Maureen’s summary of a fantastic festival

THE people of March ignored the weather forecasts and enjoyed yet another successful Summer Festival.

Thousands of people flocked to West End Park to enjoy the music on the open air stage; the Gala Parade through the town; the variety of stalls and amusements in the Lions Gala and a host of activities during the Picnic in the Park.

On Friday, despite the damp and blustery day, the evening weather, though cloudy, was kind enough to allow several hundred people to enjoy ‘Rock in the Park’ sponsored by the Co-operative Membership. The evening included a diverse mix of young and ‘up and coming’ musicians – Jana Metcalf, Twelvepointhead, Panic the Vulture and Social Status.

The highlight of the evening was the powerful and melodic voice of 11 year old Holly Orridge from Chatteris who sang to the accompaniment of her brother Connor on guitar.

Saturday dawned bright, though breezy, and thousands of people flocked into the town to enjoy the delights of the Gala Parade, organised by Reg Kemp, led by the Cambridgeshire Caledonian Pipe Band, followed by the Gala Princess Darryann Marshall and her Attendant Mihaela Pavel (sponsored by March Lions and the Fenland Citizen), and the Mayor of March Cllr Jan French and her husband. The colourful parade also included the Farcet Twist and Twirl Majorettes, Vivien the vintage fire engine (sponsored by former Mayoress Patsy Brewin), the Arco Iris Samba Band, the Bernese Mountain Dogs and many other local groups and individuals.

Once back in the park, the two girls climbed onto the stage to officially open the March Lions Annual Gala with Trevor Stockbridge, President of March Lions. They were followed by MP Steve Barclay, accompanied by Patsy Brewin, who presented the trophies to the Winners in Parade: Dance Mania (Skoulding Trophy for Best Group) and Scott Inskip of Specsavers as The Green Man on stilts (Mallett Trophy for Best Individual). They then judged the Fancy Dress competition, prizes of which were awarded: Young children category – Katie Lewis and Holly Andrews; Older children – Lauren Goode and Ross Usher; Any age – Beau Bain and Connor Waterson. Mrs Brewin commented that “Everyone had made such an effort to dress up, it would have been nice to have given everyone a prize.”

The afternoon continued with the usual huge audience enthralled by the dancing of Lisa Dickinson’s Dance Mania, Gail Burgess School of Ballet and Sarah’s Street Style Dance. Others wandered around the numerous gala stalls and enjoyed the other two new attractions, the ‘Have a go at paint-balling’ tent and the miniature railway. There was also a chance to view the parade vehicles on display at Brewin Chase and within the park, which included a drag racing car that was started up briefly producing an ear-popping roar!

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It was then time for the music of The Brink, Ollie Griffen and, after a short break for setting up, the amazing Think Floyd, who showed the audience just why Pink Floyd sold so many albums. John Whitehead, MC for the weekend exclaimed “it is great to see that we can get a band whose concerts pack venues around the country and we can see them for free in our local park.”

Sunday afternoon was bright and clear as families started to arrive for ‘Picnic in the Park’, once again sponsored by the Co-operative Membership to hear the mellow music provided by March Brass 2000, Fenjazz, Strangeworld and Bondy. For the children there were varied activities including a Circus Skills Workshop with Adrian Ley, Storytelling by Malcolm Busby (sponsored by Spectacular Opticians) and a colouring competition organised by Penny Hicks. Prizes for the competition, donated by Greetings, were presented to Henry Charman and Archie Carman (Under 7 category); Siobhan Halliday and Ellie Jay (8 – 11 year old); and Alise Saboleva and Autumn Wilding (12 and over). The afternoon was enhanced by young magician Scott Fordham who demonstrated his amazing skills to small groups of adults and children.

As the afternoon drifted into evening, the weather became cooler and cloudier, prompting many of the families to go home. However over 150 people braved the chance of rain to enjoy the delightful sounds of the RAF Wyton Area Voluntary Band who included, within their set, songs to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

During the evening the Grand prize draw took place. Winners were as follows: G Wing (Meal for 2 at the Hippodrome); S Keane (UK Towbars – reversing sensor light); G Monk (meal for 2 at the Shah Jahan); B Parish (carvery meal for 2 at Cassano’s); L Beart (carvery meal at the Oliver Cromwell Hotel); H Scott (�25 voucher for The Ship); P Brewin (�20 Stardust voucher); L Collins (3 course meal for 2 at Georges); T Pescud (Fish & Chip meal for 2 at Stotts); L Fuller (Case of Wine courtesy of Charbel Solar); J Kent (Personal Radio from WMS Music).

The March Summer Festival Committee would also like to thank John Whitehead (the MC); the stallholders, the parade participants and the numerous volunteers who helped run the event and local businesses who have given help and sponsorship, including The Oliver Cromwell Hotel for providing refreshments. They would also like to say that help is always welcome for future festivals and if you would like to do so, please get in touch via Clive Lemmon at the Town Hall on March 653709.

The March Summer Festival is made possible by grants from March Town Council, Fenland District Council and PRS for Music.

A large selection of festival photographs, taken by Charles David Photography and a list of supporters can be found on the website