Sun shines as families flock to college’s summer festival

MORE than 800 people enjoyed a summer sunshine afternoon of music and entertainment at the st vincent summer fest on Saturday. The sixth form college’s first ever end of year celebration was bathed in sunshine and branded a huge success by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage who was among the guests. She brought the Ukrainian family she has staying with her to give them a taste of the town’s community spirit.

“It’s a wonderful event and it is great to see the college welcoming so many people in,” she said. “The music is brilliant and I’m looking forward to meeting the St Vincent Sharks e-sport team who I’ve had quite a bit of contact with previously.

“Congratulations to principal Andy Grant and everyone involved in this.”

The family crowds were entertained by performances from the college’s first and second year music students, led by tutor Chris Harris. A number of bands played throughout the day.

Mr Harris, who regularly organises gigs and spots at festivals for his students, said: “They’ve all been looking forward to performing today and they have really enjoyed it.”

Other college departments were showcasing their work with the e-sports team demonstrating virtual reality and driving simulators and the sports department organising rock climbing and pickleball – a short court version of tennis.
A children’s art competition run by art teacher Chloe Cusse attracted dozens of entries and the MP was on hand to present the prizes.

Students from the performing arts department, who will be appearing in a comedic production of Treasure Island on June 22 and 23, transformed the college theatre into a Pirate Cove with fake tattoos and face painting for youngsters.

Gosport Borough Hockey Club organised taster sessions and auto business Fat Boy Enterprises of Gosport set up its own on-site garage showing off classic bikes and offering discount vouchers for car and motorbike servicing.

A raffle featuring prizes donated by local businesses raised more than £100 for the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal.

St Vincent Lettings and Safety Officer Joanne Smith, who spent weeks organising the event, said she is already thinking about next year’s festival. “It’s been fantastic today and I’m so pleased with how it has gone,” she said. “We’ll do it again next year and make it even bigger and better.”

Mr Grant praised the hard work of staff and students who worked on the event. “It has been a superb showcase for St Vincent and what we do, from the music students and the e-sports team to the photography students who were out taking pictures, everyone has been amazing,” he said.

“I’d also like to thank Caroline Dinenage and also Gosport Mayor Jamie Hutchison for opening the event. I’m so pleased for the staff who worked so hard, not just organising the day but staying late to pack everything away.

“I’m also really pleased to see so many families coming through our doors – there were some former students coming back with their families and many people who were coming to see us for the first time. I hope they all went away realising what a fantastic place this is.”