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Festival aims to bring back community spirit

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 03, 2012

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AN Exeter community is determined to put itself on the map by holding a music, arts and sport festival next year.

If all goes to plan the festival, set for next September, would involved the whole of St Thomas.

Already signed up to take part are the St Thomas Gospel Choir and the jazz band from West Exe Technology College.

All schools in the West Exe area are being invited to take part and early plans include a community stage with a two-hour open mic session.

A five-a-side football tournament is likely and there are plans to take over an empty property in Cowick Street to be used to display community art.

Behind the venture is the newly formed St Thomas Community Association.

Its chairwoman Claire Hadfield said: "There are lots of events planned for the park, with lots of different community groups taking part.

"The idea is to celebrate what goes on in the St Thomas community, which will hopefully encourage others to become involved too."

The aim is for all the events to be free and the organisers are to apply for community grants from the city council to help cover the costs.

The organisers are particularly keen for all the primary schools to be involved – either the pupils themselves performing or for each school's parent teacher association to join in.

The idea started with a group of people living in St Thomas who have been talking about such an event for three or four years, believing the ward lacks a focal point."

The idea has grown from this group with local councillors encouraging the plans.

Cowick city councillor Heather Morris said: "This is an event very much led by the newly formed St Thomas Community Association and I'm keen for it to be a success. I shall certainly be lending my support to the event. I hope it helps bring the community feel back to St Thomas and becomes an annual event."

Pubs too are expected to join in, providing live entertainment in the evenings.

The festival will be held over a weekend in September 2013. The next meeting to discuss the festival plans will be on Sunday, November 11 at 3pm in Cafe @ 36 in Cowick Street.

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