Every picture tells a (children’s) story

All these pictures tell a story … and Children’s Stories were the theme of the 2018 Community Day at St Paul’s. The event raised over £5,000 but its primary focus was simply a celebration of ‘community’.

It involved singers, artists, writers and animals from all over Winchester. Inside the church the celebrations began with highlights from this year’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. This was followed by lively performances from Winchester Fusion Choir, Western Church School Choir, Florian School of Dance and even St Paul’s Pre-school toddlers.

Outdoors, between the Scout barbecue and Alfred’s beer tent, musical entertainment was provided by singing duo Lauren Foster and Jamie Buckingham, the barbershop quartet and Marvin B. Naylor, amongst others. A visiting animal farm, Mill Cottage, ensured that animal lovers of all ages were able to stroke and cuddle assorted donkeys, mini-pigs, sheep and goats. A fun dog show inspired by 101 Dalmatians and Lassie was a new attraction at this year’s event: human visitors were joined by their four-legged friends to determine the prettiest pooch, who owned the waggiest tail and which dog could perform the cleverest trick.

The Community Day was opened by the Mayor of Winchester, Cllr David McLean. In one of his last official appearances as Mayor, he presented a Graphic Art Design Prize to Lydia Stockley from Peter Symonds College, who designed eye-catching publicity material for the event, and gave prizes to ten young authors who won the 500-word story-writing competition for their age group. MP Steve Brine dropped by and treated his family to hotdogs, while local student Anna Camfield captured events on camera.

Along with plants, books and cakes for sale there was ‘Tiger who came to tea’ face painting, a Mad Hatter’s Café, an egg and spoon race and a hunt for the goose’s golden egg.

This year’s event was organised by Julie Sharp, who said about the ‘story’ theme: ‘Children’s stories are part of our heritage – from grown-ups who remember their childhood favourite to today’s youngsters who enjoy reading and listening with parents and grandparents. They’re a unifying link across the generations and this Community Day was an opportunity to celebrate unity in a world that can seem increasingly divided.’

The rector of St Paul’s, Canon Peter Seal, said: ‘Once again, we celebrated all that it means to be part of a community. It’s more than just a group of people living in a particular area or sharing a particular set of values and beliefs. It’s about friendship and support, an ear to listen, having someone to encourage us when the going gets tough. It’s about inclusivity and being part of something bigger than ourselves.

‘St Paul’s is absolutely at the heart of this community in Winchester. We are in the middle of a substantial Building for Life fund-raising programme to make our building and the site in Fulflood more responsive to the changing needs of the local community. We hope people who visited will understand that vision and join us in helping make it a reality. Saturday’s event showed that together we really are more than the sum of our parts.’