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Cheers and Tears at the Angel Canal Festival

08 September, 2017

The Mayor of Islington with festival organisers Sasha Mears and Beryl Windsor 

CITY Basin was awash with hundreds of thrill-seekers last weekend for the 31st Angel Canal Festival.

While Graham Street was closed off for the annual parade of workshops, food stalls and traditional fairground games, the canalside rang out to the sound of samba rhythms, folk melodies and children gleefully screaming “He’s behind you!” at the ever- popular Punch & Judy show.

Islington mayor Cllr Una O’Halloran and the Pearly Queen of Islington, Phyllis Broadbent, 90, could also be heard from the jetty loudly cheering on young Islington Boat Club rowers competing in the annual Bell Boat Races.

Organisers Beryl Windsor,78, and Sasha Mears, 60, shared a tearful embrace after the mayor paid tribute to their commitment to the festival. The pair are both standing down following this year’s event, having led the festival’s organising committee since 1999.

Islington Council and the Canal and River Trust, which looks after the canal, have offered to step in and run the festival next year.

Sandrine’s Latin American dancers stole the show 

Ms Windsor said: “We’ve worked on the festival for 19 years and we were so worried it would not survive but the good news is that Islington Council and the Canal and River Trust are keen for it not to end, so we’re having a meeting at the end of this month. We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure it can continue. It’s time for somebody with loads of energy to take over and the council and trust are enthusiastic, so Sasha and I are hopeful for the future and we will carry on as volunteers.”

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