Friendship to the fore in Banbury festival

Preparations under way for this Sunday's event. The bunting was made by two students who are studying art and design at Banbury and Bicester College  ' Faith Huff and Emma Mobbs
Preparations under way for this Sunday's event. The bunting was made by two students who are studying art and design at Banbury and Bicester College ' Faith Huff and Emma Mobbs

This Sunday see the return of Banbury’s Friendship Festival, a special event aimed at bringing everybody in the town closer together.

It will be taking place in various locations around the town centre with a busy programme of free activities appealing to all ages.

Clare Spittal, one of the organisers, said of the event’s origins: “Interested members of different communities decided to explore the possibility of celebrating together for one day each year.

“We want to ensure that we develop all possible opportunities to enable our Banbury community to understand one another – to accept and enjoy our various differences and to recognise the circumstances that we all share in common.”

Events start with the early morning nature walk led by an expert, at 7.30am from Spiceball Park. Booking is essential, call 01295 720900.

At 11am activities start at the Cornhill Centre, see below, and also in the community garden, while in the Market Square there will be Bob Dainty plus children’s activities all day.

Highlights of those will include the butterfly parade at 11.30am to the community garden ahead of a shared lunch at the latter at noon.

Other events include history walks, laughing yoga in the Market Square at 1pm, a quiet time at 3pm and a tour of the Merton Street Mosque at 4pm.

The day finishes with a time of singing together at 6.30pm with professional accompaniment, before a 7pm finish. For full details of timings and places, go to the Banbury Friendship Festival 2018 on Facebook.

From morris dancing and a gospel bell choir, to music from Sikh and Nepalese cultures, there is something for everyone at The Cornhill Centre.

The programme kicks off with world music and a ‘roaming musician’ at 10am.

Dave Fry is on at 11.30am and then at half-hour intervals, Linda Watkins, Adderbury Ukelele Band, 5 Ways and The Gospel Bell Choir. The Sikh Musicians are next, then the Anjali Dance group, Sheena McCormack and Kim Hobday, Ian Bramble, Irish Dancers, Impromptu and Nepalese music.

At 5.30pm, Caroline Watsham takes to the stage before Shaun Mason and David Brock, then Ray Lear and Chris Seddon bring the day at Cornhill to a close.