The Alton Lions ‘Swinging Sixties’ Rocks the Public Gardens

Alton Lions ‘Swinging Sixties’ event took the Public Gardens by storm to raise £2,000 for the children of Treloar School and College.

Crowds of people flocked to the gardens to enjoy the sun, the colour, the fun and the music of an era remembered for its free spirit, ground breaking fashion, pop music, mini skirts and pirate radio!

Officially opened by ‘Elvis’ – aka Kevin MacKrell, who arrived in the park on board a pink Cadillac, driven by owner, Tony Vincent of Four Marks. Alton Town Crier, Stan Witcher, introduced the ‘King’ and Alton Town Mayor, cllr Robert Saunders and then the day got off to a rocking start.

As ‘The King’ was introduced by Alton Town Crier, Stan Whitcher ‘Elvis’ was closely followed by members of Alton Operatic and Dramatic Society with a tribute to the Beach Boys, by the sounds of Alton’s own (bandstand based) Pirate Radio station, decorated by members of the 2nd Alton Brownies and manned by DJ, Paul Le Feuvre, and by the live 60’s music of local rock band, Tripwire, and later in the day by ‘Unknown Legend’.

Meanwhile, visitors were able to enjoy stalls, games and activities staged by local groups, clubs and organisations, who were free, after paying pitch fees, to raise money and profile for themselves.

Amongst them were the Alton Juggling Club whose workshops attracted a steady flow of customers, a life sized Dalek, made and exhibited by Mike Onslow, a select range of iconic vehicles, including an E-type Jaguar and a 60’s Mini; a ‘Hippie’ alternative therapy village; a bouncy castle; and an inflatable assault course, used to stage an ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition.

The team competition was eventually won by four students from Germany, working at Treloar’s as part of their national service: Stephan Hanseg (20) who took the trophy also for the best individual time; Bijan Marfels (19), Benedikt Schlosser (20) and Hannah Deffland (20).

During the day other entertainment was provided by a group of young dancers from the Vanessa Golborn School of Dance – Victoria Speed-Andrews, Izzy Parker, Lauren Michie, Tessa Fairey and Nathan Clark, who gave a brilliant demonstration of 60’s style dance before encouraging their audience to join in.

They were followed by a lively and colourful demonstration of Hula Hooping by Bee Varga, who also encouraged people young and old to ‘have-a-go’.

There was the ever popular and politically incorrect Punch and Judy show, enjoyed by the children; a raffle drawn by Deputy Town Mayor cllr Terry Eccott; a barbecue, afternoon teas and a beer tent. An impromptu 60’s fashion competition, judged by Heather Eastman, manager at Alton’s M&S Per Una, saw Gemma Beagley (12) taking the junior prize, while the adult prize went to ‘hippie’ Roy Gisborne.

In a closing address, event organiser Lion Moira Baker, thanked the Lions team and partner team from Treloar who worked so hard all year to make the event such a success. Lion Moira also gave special thanks to the team of sponsors including Molson Coors, the Original Factory Shop, the Newbury Building Society, Alton Pet Supplies, the Toy Shed, and Alton Town Council who together made the event possible. In addition Lion Moira thanked all the organisations, bands, entertainers, service providers and individuals who worked through the day to make the event such a special feature in the local calendar. Finally Moira thanked all the people who came and gave so generously for the children of Treloars and asked them to spread the word to make next year’s event an even greater success.