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Leys say ‘yes please!’ and call for their fair to stay
SAME again next year? Yes please, delighted residents of Oxford’s largest estate have said.
The resurrected Blackbird Leys Fair proved such a hit that calls have been made for the new organisers to take it on every year.
Thousands of families attended the gathering at Blackbird Leys park earlier this month.
The fair had been a fixture for decades until its cancellation in 2011 following organisational problems.
There were concerns the annual event would never reappear.
But following a two-year absence, Blackbird Leys Parish Council and Oxford City Council paid £5,000 each to bring it back.
They hired Oxfordshire Play Association to organise it.
A shift of focus to previous fairs saw music and live bands, along with more interactive games including Zorb balls for children to play inside.
Frys Hill resident Janet Prince was one of the people who attended.
The 53-year-old said: “There was a lot more for kids to do, but there was also stuff for adults, which hasn’t always been the case.
“Having an event like that bringing everyone together does help, because the estates don’t always have the best reputation.”
Twenty-two-year-old Karly Jason, a mother of two from Grenoble Road, added: “My lads loved it.
“I really hope it comes back next year. I wasn’t expecting it to be as fun as it was to be honest.
“The fact it was free helps, and they got to meet other children from Blackbird Leys so people get to know each other’s faces.”
Oxfordshire Play Association spokeswoman Jane Gallagher said: “It feels fantastic to have had such a successful event.
“We’ve had a lot of calls and emails saying how much people enjoyed it, but it was the community which made it special.
“It was hugely satisfying to see the support and have such a great turn-out.
“It’s all about the feel-good factor and often people don’t even know they are contributing, but they do just by turning up.
“We are looking forward to organising more events in Oxfordshire and would certainly be interested next year.”
Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper said: “It was great to see the fair back and the weather held off, which was a great help. It was a great day and without a doubt if we can help again next year we will.
“We must say thank you to Val Churchill from the city council for her input.”
A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: “We are really pleased with the success of Leys Fair. It was good that so many people got involved in helping to make it happen.
“We would want to get feedback from local residents and other partners as part of the evaluation of the event and then use the information to help us look at plans for next year.”
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