COMMUNITY spirit is being celebrated on Weymouth Beach with a free family fun event.

Drizzly rain failed to dampen the spirits of the volunteers and organisers at the Refresh on the Beach Festival which kicked off yesterday.

The event launched with live music, face painting, bouncy castles, foot massages and activities for all ages and ended with the Hokey Cokey dance.

The festival, which continues today, tomorrow and Monday near Alexandra Gardens, is a joint project between churches in Weymouth and Portland and volunteers from around the world that could become a regular summer fixture.

Marty Woods, who as community festival organiser for the nationwide More than Gold mission has run 200 festivals, attended by half a million people across the country in celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said it was now ‘Weymouth’s moment’ to shine.

He described the London 2012 Games as the best community party yet and said: “We’ve done the Sydney and China Olympics , and World Cups but this has been the best one because the nation wanted to celebrate.

“At first people were like: ‘Oh no, it won’t work here’ but it’s just exploded. We’ve never had so many communities wanting to run events.

“During the Games, people who would never talk to each other were talking on trains, in streets – it’s like the Olympics gives the best pretext for a celebration.”

He added: “This is Weymouth’s moment. We’ve brought a team from around the world here to help out the great group of locals.

“Our job is to train the locals as we hope it will become a regular part of Weymouth’s summer.”

Australian lecturer Graeme Frauenfelder, 51, who has been touring with More than Gold for three months as a volunteer clown, said: “England is just shining. It’s not just been a sporting thing but such a celebration of culture.”

He added: “I just love bringing happiness to people.

“Our next stop is Stoke Mandeville next Wednesday for the Opening Ceremony night celebrations.”

Weymouth resident Sally Scragg organised the borough’s Refresh 2012 Bedouin tents, while her husband Dave booked the bands. She praised the borough’s Refresh 2012 co-ordinator Rev Anni Douglas for being ‘inspirational’.

Weymouth youth minister Catherine Currell said: “It’s really exciting to be working with people from all over Weymouth and Portland and also from halfway around the world.”

Eight-year-old Daisy White, of the Rodwell area, said: “I think it’s a great idea, all the churches doing a lot of things together.

“The children’s club was quite good, we did lots of different activities.

“It’s been a great Olympics and sometimes at our athletics club we pretend it is the Olympics so we’ve got to work really hard.

“My favourite is the hurdles.”


TODAY the Refresh on the Beach Festival family fun continues from 10am to 3.30pm followed by live music from 4pm to 10pm.

Sunday will start with a Great Big Worship event at 11am, followed by family fun events from 1pm to 3.30pm. Bands will again perform between 4pm and 10pm. Monday will feature children’s entertainment from 10am to 1pm, followed by a finale at 2pm.