Tonbridge unites to demonstrate its cultural diversity

Pepenbury Wingwalk 2

More than 1,000 revellers enjoyed a memorable afternoon of entertainment at the free Tonbridge Calling event on Saturday.

The celebration, at Tonbridge Racecourse sports ground, was staged to highlight cultural diversity in the area in light of a national rise in race-related hate crimes.

It was hailed a success by organisers and is now expected to become an annual event.

Music was performed at by Bourne Valley Boys, Orange Circus, We Ghosts, Ivor Pop and Sam Dunstall, who all appeared free of charge.

Bazaar’s craft stall, puppeteers Strangeface and Wacky Faces face-painters left hundreds of children delighted as the sun broke through.

Caterers from The Old Fire Station, Sulston’s Kitchen and Gurkha Planet had a very busy day and are donating 10% of their takings towards running costs and the three nominated charities, the Bridge Trust, Porchlight and the Grant Rule Trust. Supporters donated cakes for the tea stall run by April Clark and her team.

“We spent the whole afternoon there and had a brilliant time. The quality of the music was fantastic,” said Catherine Hylton.

Debi Simpson said: “Superb event, well done, chilled atmosphere, fab music and the sun came out.”

Maria Carlsvard said: “Great festival! Hope it happens again next year. Friendly, great music, thank you all.”

The organisers praised the crowd for their enthusiastic response and amazing attitude to keeping things running throughout the day, from volunteering to steward to litter-picking.

Fred Long, a co-organiser, said: “It was an amazing day and the number of people who turned up was way beyond our expectations, which we felt vindicated the trust that the council put in us to host the event.

“The feedback we have had from everyone has been great. We had speeches from the Worldwide Tribe, which is a group of young people from West Kent who have been helping at the camps in Calais and also from Tonbridge Welcomes Refugees.

“They were fantastic and put across the message that we are a supportive community.”

Tonbridge Calling was organised in just six weeks by a core of six organisers: Faydra Mitchell, Simon Partington, Sophie Quinnell, Ted Rogers, Fred Long and Mark Hood.

The event was funded by Tonbridge Round Table and the Grant Rule Trust with the help of Tonbridge Town Team and the co-operation of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

Planning for next year’s Tonbridge Calling will begin shortly.

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