Canalside carnival in Islington attracts big crowds despite downpours

Thousands turned out to enjoy the annual Angel Canal Festival on Sunday – even though it was not just the barges that got wet.

Revellers braved downpours as the waterside carnival celebrated its 25th year with a fun-packed day of music, food and children’s activities at City Road Basin, Islington.

And there was a jubilant mood as festival founder Crystal Hale was honoured with an Islington People’s Plaque, unveiled by her daughter Rebecca Hale.

Organiser Beryl Windsor said: “There’s nothing you can do about the weather – but it all went down very well.

“The fact Crystal Hale’s family were there for the unveiling of the green plaque was great. And we had great support from local charities and businesses and local people.”

A floating cinema, free canoe lessons and boat races were among the entertainments, as well as music from five bands including regulars Tragic Roundabout.

Art workshops were held on a floating classroom, which also hosted a collection of creepy crawlies, while adventurous youngsters rolled around on the water’s surface in hamster ball-like “zorbs”.

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Crystal Hale, who lived nearby in Noel Road and died in 1999 aged 83, led a campaign to save the basin when it was set to be filled in and also founded the Islington Boat Club.

Her son Jeremy Pudney said: “She loved the water and her mission was to make sure that the young people of Islington should have the opportunity to enjoy all the fun and skills that messing about in boats can bring.”