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Thousands visit Highbury Fields for Go Islington sports day

PUBLISHED: 17:51 26 July 2016 | UPDATED: 17:52 26 July 2016

Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher at Go Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher at Go Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

2016 Steve Bainbridge

In recent months, Highbury Fields has mainly been associated with the almighty row over disposable barbecues. But the tensions – and smoke – briefly evaporated on Saturday afternoon when Go Islington, the council’s huge annual sports day, returned.

Go Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve BainbridgeGo Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

Mayor Kat Fletcher trying out rugby, wearing a full set of robes, was a perfect example of the feelgood vibe around the Fields.

In 2012, much was made of securing London’s Olympic “legacy”. And Go Islington, held every year since then, is the council’s contribution.

With leaders forever trying to promote active lifestyles, as well as use of Islington’s parks and green spaces, the massive range of activities meant there were no excuses for the thousands of people that turned up during the day.

Go Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve BainbridgeGo Islington in Highbury Fields on Saturday. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

There was handball, basketball, cycling, boccia, climbing, tennis and mixed martial arts.

More leftfield options were the urban country show with a global food market, duck herding, a BMX stunt show, tree-climbing demos and a top dog competition.

There were also demonstrations of tai chi and a chance to see birds of prey in the flesh.

Kim Philpot enjoys a salsa workshop at Go Islington in Highbury Fields. Picture: Polly HancockKim Philpot enjoys a salsa workshop at Go Islington in Highbury Fields. Picture: Polly Hancock

Healthy food stalls, zumba classes and activities for younger children rounded off the line-up – there was “baby ballet”, salsa and a singalong in the marquee.

Cllr Claudia Webbe, Islington’s environment leader, said: “I was delighted to see thousands of people, of all ages, filling Highbury Fields in the sunshine on Saturday.

“From discovering a new favourite sport to enjoying the park, our Go Islington festival had so much to offer.

Three-year-old Robin Jenkins tries out his BMX skills at Go Islington in Highbury Fields. He is watched by Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher. Picture: Polly HancockThree-year-old Robin Jenkins tries out his BMX skills at Go Islington in Highbury Fields. He is watched by Mayor of Islington Cllr Kat Fletcher. Picture: Polly Hancock

“The huge breadth of activities and stalls was a buzzing showcase for the best of active and family-friendly Islington.”

Cllr Webbe added there will be more to come this summer: “Go Islington demonstrates residents and visitors alike really do love Islington parks, and I was happy to see it return once more to Highbury Fields as the Olympics moves to Rio.

“But this isn’t the end of it. As well as great spaces for relaxing, all sorts of activities and events can be found taking place in these green and healthy backdrops over the summer, including the Summerversity and Launchpad programmes for children and young people.”

Our photographer took dozens more snaps on Saturday. Pick up the Gazette print edition on Thursday to see if you or your child feature.


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