LEDBURY pulled out all the stops in the town centre last Sunday to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Market House and 21st anniversary of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.

The Great Ledbury Celebration was so popular in fact, it might even become an annual event from now on.

The party was opened by the Community Brass Band and it closed with a performance by Dave Crowe, the internationally renowned beat box specialist and the son of former town mayor, Annette Crowe.

Town mayor, Elaine Fieldhouse praised " a truly wonderful day of music, poetry, food, dancing, art, heritage and fun".

She added: "A big thank you to all who contributed to its success.”

Phillippa Slinger of Ledbury Poetry Festival added: “It was a truly outstanding community day. The Festival’s first High Street Town party for many a year. People were thrilled it was back and the entertainment from poetry, music, dance and theatre surpassed all expectations. It was a joy to organise and brought so many of the townspeople together in so many different ways”

The sun shone and the High Street was filled with local food; – thirty local producers in total bringing their varied produce to market, lining the street with their stalls as in an old time market.

Griff Holliday of the Ledbury Food Group said: "It was a fabulous festival of local food – bringing the market to the Market House and all ages of the community to the High Street

"Trade was good, the ice-cream ran out twice, and the seating area organised by the Nest was a popular place to sit and soak up the atmosphere."

Mr Holliday added: "The entertainment area was popular all day with dance, music and poetry drawing the crowds including performances from Samba Galêz, Dancefest, and local music groups the Sequins and Flatworld.

"At Top Cross, the Silurians Morris Team gave tutorials to budding Morris men and women.Upstairs in the Market House visitors were attracted by the exhibition organised by the Youth Council featuring art works and 250 birthday cards produced by pupils of Ledbury Primary School, and Joined Up Heritage project’s display about the history of the Market House."

Overall prize winners in the birthday card and art competitions were Orla Coulter (under 7s), Charlotte Kroese (7 to 11) and Heather Blackmore (12 to 16).

The Market House was presented with a special 400th anniversary cake donated by the Homend Mall. This was cut to the strains of Happy Birthday from the band. A celebration cake was the theme too of the cake competition won by Jana Pastrnakova .

Ledbury Carnival Princess Emily Ryan and attendants Tilly Wright and Layla Crickett attended the prize-givings.

Mr Holliday added: "Organisations across Ledbury contributed to produce this very special day, including Ledbury Town Council, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Ledbury Food Group, the Friends of the Master’s House, the Youth Council, the Ledbury Fringe, Joined Up Heritage, local businesses, traders and performers.

"Feedback from those attending has been very positive, with suggestions that the town should enjoy an event of this kind in the High Street every year."

All pictures by Griff Holliday and Pat Strauss, except for the picture of The Sequins, by Dave Kettle.