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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Thousands help to paint Workington red at second festival

Every colour of the rainbow could be seen in Workington on Saturday but one in particular provided the focus as the town enjoyed its second Paint the Town Red festival.

Paint it Red photo
Kookaburra took part in the event

A Chinese dragon, carnival band and stilt walkers were among the attractions that ensured this was no ordinary weekend in west Cumbria.

Official numbers of visitors to the free town centre festivities are not yet known but organisers believe the crowds may have topped the 2008 event, which attracted more than 47,000 people.

Raising money for Hospice at Home West Cumbria, the festival provided something for every age and interest, with more than 60 attractions.

They ranged from highlights like Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova and stunt driver Russ Swift to zorb balls for youngsters and an exhibition of historic photographs.

Spells of sunshine kept the crowds warm as they enjoyed the activities in Curwen Park, Vulcan Park and the town centre. Street entertainers and bands mingled with shoppers, while the main stage by Marks & Spencer allowed people to hear a host of bands.

Helen Irving, chairman of the organising committee, said: “It’s been an excellent day. The crowds were slow in coming but once they came it was a bit of a tsunami effect.”

Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova wowed the crowds at St Joseph’s Catholic High School with their glittering costumes and amazing dance moves. Darren said: “It is a great pleasure for Lilia and I to be here and its is absolutely fantastic for a town of this size all coming together for one day and for a great cause.”

Lilia added: “We have never been to the Lake District before so we are looking forward to seeing the town and taking in the atmosphere.”

Two ‘East meets West’ cookery demonstrations in Emmanuel Church gave people a chance to try some Malaysian dishes cooked using Cumbrian ingredients.

Local food champion Annette Gibbons, of Mawbray, and Malaysian Rotarian Patricia Vitialingam created a feast of culinary delights for the audience, helped by food technology pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic High School.

TV stunt driver Russ took to a Suzuki Swift from J Edgar and Son to show off his tricks.

Using two Minis as props, he wowed the crowds with high-speed turning parallel parks and J-turns.

David Scott, 23, of Thomas Road, Salterbeck, was invited to sit in the boot of the front Mini and watch the action close up. He said: “It was just like a movie.”

A Positive Opportunities at the Weekend in Workington camp for youngsters was co-ordinated by Sgt Richard Farnworth of Cumbria policeand featured a climbing wall, paint ball, sports and a battle of the bands.

Fairground rides, miniature double decker bus rides and ride-on trains kept tots amused, while older children enjoyed activities from zorbing to finding out about physics with a fun science stand.

Barry Minshaw, 43, of Frostoms Road, attended with his wife Annette and six-year-old son Nathan. He said: “It’s a good festival. There seems a lot for children to do.”

Among the new attractions this year was a beer tent, stocked by Seaton’s Mitchell Krause Brewery, which proved popular along with the range of local food stalls.

In Curwen Park local talent took centre stage at the Red Raw Talent Show. Singers and dancers went all out to impress the judges – music teacher Mike Milner, dance school principal Natalie Smith and drummer Paul Knowles.

Eleven-year-old Rianna Macdonald, of Sarsfield Road, Workington, took the first prize of £500 of Debenhams vouchers for her powerful performance of Mr Know it All by Kelly Clarkson.

Second place went to Lucie Rose, 19, of Workington, who sang Elton John’s Your Song and third place went to Lindsay Brockie, of Low Hesket, who sang New York New York by Frank Sinatra.

It will be some days before the total raised is known but Helen predicts that thousands of pounds was raised.

She added: “This couldn’t have happened without all the support we have had from community groups who have acted as stewards, help set it up and collected money. A big thank you needs to go out to them.”

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