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Biddulph Festival looks in good health

Organisers of Biddulph Festival can’t wait to get this year’s month-long operation started on Saturday, 1st July.

Celebrating the NHS’s 75th anniversary is the theme this year, while a nautical atmosphere will wash over the opening day parade in homage to the festival’s ever-popular Biddulph-by-the Sea event.

The procession along High Street and entertainment will kick-start a month of activities for all ages and all pockets.

New slots this year will be a comedy night, a performance by Staged Dance and Drama production (Biddulph’s youth) and some interactive life-saving skills training sessions in cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

And making a welcome return will be evening walks with the ramblers, a festival service and bingo. In addition there will be an art trail, Italian experience evening and 80s night.

In celebration of the NHS’s 75th anniversary an event charting its history, called Life Before the NHS and Life Since, takes place on Thursday, 6th July.

Biddulph Festival’s main organiser Jackie Nevill said: “In 1948 the health secretary Aneurin Bevan expressed three essential values: firstly, that the services helped everyone; secondly, healthcare was free and finally, that care would be provided based on need rather than ability to pay. Furthermore, the services were designed for everyone from cradle to the grave.

“Like the health service, Biddulph Festival promises to bring something for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest residents of our town and surrounding areas.” The launch day begins with a café on the town hall steps at 10am on 1st July followed by the start of the parade at 11am. Fun at The Biddulph by the Sea sandpit begins at noon while other entertainment will include performances on the town hall steps, Punch and Judy, fairground rides, and stalls.

Providing some head-turning nautical-themed fun on the festival launch day will be Staffordshire Moorlands community arts programme Outside.

The group will take along The Whale, a tin version of the mammal super giant of the seas, which festivalgoers will be able to enter for a short theatre show. Described as a “witty and charming experience” it will be performed by Talking Birds Theatre Company.

Maritime-themed walkabout act Sea Sphere will transport visitors to a place of imagination and wonder thanks to The Show Globe, described as “a mermaid act like no other that is visually beautiful and exquisitely detailed”. Sea Sphere will be gliding along the high street mesmerising audiences on its way.

Mrs Nevill said: “We are all excited about Outside showcasing innovative rural theatre entertainment in Biddulph. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed or helped in any way to provide the best launch we could possibly have. Let’s get the show on the road!” Referring to the NHS anniversary theme she added: “We hope to lift people’s mood and improve their well being, thereby reducing the stress on the NHS for the period of the festival while we all have some fun together.” And she praised all those who are supporting this year’s Biddulph Festival: “Many thanks once again for the support from Biddulph Town Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, local businesses, sponsors and volunteers for their support.” She also gave a “special thanks” to Veronica Brown “for her expertise producing the festival brochure, posters and tickets. Each one, as usual, masterpieces in their own right”.

Biddulph Festival Committee was also thanked. “Without their hard work and dedication we would not be able to provide such a comprehensive programme of events,” said Mrs Nevill.

“Lastly, I would like to convey my personal thanks to everyone, both past and present, who has worked so hard to make the Biddulph Festival so successful, and to you, the people of Biddulph and surrounding areas and those who have travelled further afield who have given us fantastic support over the years.

“So let’s get this operation started! Make an appointment for the festival!”

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