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Day brings arts to the park

A WORLD of imagination was created to celebrate books in Bognor Regis.


The town’s annual book day returned to Hotham Park and saw creativity take centre stage around the bandstand.


This year’s theme in the Bognor Regis Town Council-run event was based on the books of Steyning author, Julia Donaldson, of The Gruffalo fame.


Four of her stories, including The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, were featured in hourly storytelling sessions on the bandstand.


But all types of children’s books were popular at the book swap. Among those who took some volumes in and picked up others was Felpham resident Graham Chamberlain and his two older book- loving children.


“They read an awful lot of books but, once you have read a book twice or three times, there’s no point in reading it again and so we’ve got a lot at home.


“I’m training to be a teacher and I think anything that encourages children to get away from their computers is a good thing.”


One of his daughters, nine-year-old Katie Chamberlain, said: “When there is a good book, I know the character.


“I like book series because I can follow the characters through them. My favourite is Tom Gates by Liz Pichon.”


The big art tent was also popular. Amelia Windell, five, had made a giant ladybird watched by her mum, Kelly Ladlow, 36, from Felpham.


Kelly said: “It’s good to have something in the half-term where kids can go and money is not a factor.


“Kids love arts and crafts. It’s fun, it’s messy and it’s creative. There’s kids from a really young age up to their teens here.”


Other popular attractions were the 7.5m high climbing wall, donkeys, a collection of reptiles and The Funky Playbus with its superslide and ball pool.


Town council events officer Kirsten Fitzpatrick estimated some 3,000-4,000 people had gone along to Wednesday’s event.


“I think the cloudy weather today, and the heavy rain yesterday, has put people off. It’s our fifth year of holding this event and Julia Donaldson was the choice of people when we asked which author should be celebrated,” she said.


“We had 12 children take part in the fancy dress competition and we’ve had other Julia Donaldson-themed activities as well.”


The town council also took the chance to publicise its Playing Out initiative. Parents will be given the materials and road closures so children can play outside.

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