Sunshine and Sophie Bring Out The Crowds At Green Days

Thousands enjoy the opening event of 42nd Bedford Park Festival

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Photos courtesy of David Beresford

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The combination of the pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor and bright sunshine brought out the crowds at 'Green Days' weekend in Chiswick - the opening event of the 42nd annual Bedford Park Festival.

Thousands of people enjoyed the traditional "village green" atmosphere, watching the bands and the five-a-side football; going on the dodgems, skittles and coconut shy; buying cakes, bric a brac and plants; drinking beer and Pimms; eating strawberries and ice cream; and browsing in the Craft marquee.

Sophie opened the event on Saturday morning, and judged the children's fancy dress competition. "I'm a local girl" she told the packed crowd. "I was brought up round here and I'm delighted to be back at such a wonderful family event."

"Sophie was charming and wonderful with the children" said Father Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels church, which organise the Festival. "We were delighted to attract such a major star to open the event, and it made a great start to a brilliant weekend. The atmosphere was wonderful and people of all ages had a terrific time."

Father Kevin and Sophie judged the fancy dress costumes, on the theme of comic book characters. The winners were:

Age 3 and under
1st Wilfred Morris, Thomas the Tank Engine
2nd Gabriella Timmons, Minnie the Minx
3rd Alec Ball, Captain Hook

Age 4-6
1st Jennifer Critchlow, Nemo
2nd Jack Averre, Silver Surfer
3rd Max Hamlyn, Red Power Ranger

Age 7-10
1st Eliza Waskett, Sponge Bob Squarepants
2nd Oliver Simkin (and Kitty), Tintin and Snowy
3rd Stella Wharmby, Lisa Simpson

Another highlight was the 5-a-side Football Competition, sponsored by the estate agents Bushells. There were three competitions – the under-10s on Saturday and the under-13s and under-15s on Sunday.

The winners of the Juniors' Bedford Park Trophy were Ravenscourt Rovers, with Tractor Boys as runners up. On the Sunday, the Bushells Cup for the Seniors tournament was won by Green Day Packers, who beat Chiswick Rangers. And the tournament for the Veterans Trophy, played on the Rocks Lane pitches, was one by OneTouchables, who beat Jimmy Bullard FC.

There were more prizes on the Sunday in the annual Pop Idol talent competition for under-18s. More than 40 children took part, singing and dancing. The judges were Nick Mander of Artist Management, Nicole Allison, head of music at the Arts Educational School, and Bianca from Sweaty Betty in Turnham Green Terrace, the event sponsor. It attracted the biggest crowd of the weekend and four acts were chosen as winners:

Overall winner: Maisie Preston and Isabelle Kent, age 12, who sang 'Anything you can do…'.
Solo performer: Lily Johnston, age 9, who sang 'Somewhere over the rainbow.'
Dance: Alexandra and Chloe, age 9, who danced to 'What time is it?'
Group: Polka Dot Pups (Amelia, Aylin, age 10, and Saskia, age 10), who sang 'Unfaithful'.

Other young performers on the Band Stand across the two days included the Twyford Gospel Choir from Twyford Church of England High School, who were finalists in the BBC's Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year earlier this year; as well as bands from Twyford, the Arts Educational School and Latymer Upper School, which all attracted big crowds of young followers. Other live entertainment included the BJO, Havana Good Time and the Hemingford Saxophone Quartet.

The event was supported by lots of local firms, including the estate agents Savills which sponsored the Balloon Race. The prize will go to the person whose balloon travels furthest, and will be announced at the end of the Festival.

Green Days forms part of the Love London environmental campaign, and there were several 'green' sponsors, including Eco, the shop and consultancy set up by actor Colin Firth and his family, who were there on their stand. Greentomatocars, Green Homes Concierge Service, the Green Trading Company, and Hounslow Council's recycling team all took stands, and there was also a chance to win a green 'Bluemotion' Polo car from Volkswagen Chiswick.

All waste on the Green was sorted for recycling as part of the Keep Green Days Green campaign, with a team of volunteers showing people which bin to put their rubbish in. "We've managed to achieve Zero Waste for the past three years, with the help of Grundon Waste Management" said Festival co-ordinator Torin Douglas. "It's a huge amount of work but very worthwhile and everyone entered into the spirit of it."

Green Days weekend is the start of the Festival, a fortnight of arts and community events. This year's Festival charities are Musequality, the Upper Room and St Michael & All Angels Church. Full programme details at:

June 15, 2008