Festival is disbanded

ONE of Ringwood’s biggest summertime events has been scrapped after town councillors voted to disband the town’s annual festival.

Ringwood Festival has been a firm fixture in the town for 15 years, drawing thousands of people to more than 100 events at scores of venues across the town during one week in July.

It was set up by the late Danny Cracknell, pictured, in 1997 who presided over the event for ten years, before he died in 2008.

But the festival will not be held next year after all 11 members of its steering committee voted to stop organising it.

Known to many as “Mr Ringwood”, Mr Cracknell never missed an opportunity to sing the town’s praises and was a stalwart for the town and its people.

His wife Diana said she was “very disappointed” but could understand why the decision had been made.

She said: “Danny worked tirelessly for the festival. He did all the running about and worked extremely hard to put on a good show every year, but now the council does not have anyone who has the time to do it.

“There are just not the people who can throw themselves into the festival like Danny did.”

The week-long summertime fiesta, which has raised tens of thousands of pounds for local good causes, has always tied in with the nationally-acclaimed British Pedal Car Grand Prix, which the town hosts every other year.

Although Ringwood Festival will no longer exist, the town council is making grants available to individuals to host their own events throughout the summer under the banner of Ringwood’s Community Events.

Ringwood Festival Steering Committee chairman Brian Terry said: “We took the decision to disband the event because the level of organisation for the festival was extremely high, as it gave charities just one week of the year to organise their events.

“We felt, as a committee, that the festival needs to be run by individuals. Currently people are restricted to have an event during this one week. We believe it will be less stressful and more beneficial to the town if groups choose their own dates for their event throughout the summer.”

He added: “The town council is still offering grants to help people with their events, but these do need to be applied for before the end of January.”

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