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Angel Canal Festival is saved! Council and waterways authority step in to rescue annual event from closure

PUBLISHED: 17:26 31 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:34 31 August 2017

Angel Canal Festival in 2015. Picture: Seb Higgins

Angel Canal Festival in 2015. Picture: Seb Higgins

Archant

Islington’s famous annual Angel Canal Festival – which organisers feared would end for good after Sunday’s celebration – is saved, the Gazette can reveal.

Outgoing Angel Canal Festival organisers Beryl Windsor and Sasha Mears. Picture: Beryl WindsorOutgoing Angel Canal Festival organisers Beryl Windsor and Sasha Mears. Picture: Beryl Windsor

The popular event, which takes place on the first Sunday of every September in the City Road Basin, had been under threat of closure because lead rganisers Beryl Windsor and Sasha Mears couldn’t find anyone to replace them.

A devastated Beryl feared Sunday’s festival would be the last. But after her appeal in the Gazette in June, Islington Council and the Canal and River Trust offered to take over. The Canal No 5 cafe and Narrowboat pub have also expressed interest in getting involved.

Sasha stepped down last year after open heart surgery, while 78-year-old Beryl is also retiring after spending 10 days in hospital over December last year.

She told the Gazette this afternoon: “It will carry on. Sasha and I are absolutely thrilled.

“We don’t know exactly how it will be done – it could be a partnership of the council and trust – but I will be having a meeting with both in late September.”

Angel Canal Festival in 2015. Picture: Seb HigginsAngel Canal Festival in 2015. Picture: Seb Higgins

The festival celebrates the heritage of the Regent’s Canal. Beryl added: “It is massively important to Islington. It’s an event that brings people together, regardless of background. We have people from the posh Boris Johnson houses in Colebrooke Row and people who live in social housing in the Packington estate.

“The festival is only one day a year, but I think in a small way it has added to the improvement of the area.”

Sunday’s festival takes place from 11am to 5pm, and Beryl will be able to enjoy it knowing its future is secure. “Sasha and I had been doing it since 1999,” she said, “and I can understand why initially no one was taking it on!

“We were total amateurs, but enthusiastic amateurs. It’s hard work, and I struggled this year without Sasha. But we are so relieved the festival has been saved.”

For more information about Sunday’s festival, visit angelcanalfestival.org

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