Ironbridge Heritage Festival – in pictures

More than 5,000 people descended on Shropshire’s Ironbridge Gorge for a spectacular party as part of the historic site’s World Heritage Festival.

A host of attractions were on offer to the crowds who flocked in to join the celebrations. Ironbridge Gorge marks 25 years as a World Heritage Site in 2011 and Saturday’s extravaganza got the party well and truly started.

Illuminations and a fireworks display were the climax of the day which also saw the famous Iron Bridge lit up with coloured lights.

At the far end of The Wharfage, the old Severn Warehouse, now the Museum of The Gorge, was also bathed in coloured lights throughout the weekend.

Images were also projected on to the side of other historic buildings in the World Heritage Site. The crowds were kept entertained with a street market, singers, bands and dancers.

The fireworks spectacular began at 8pm and lit up the valley much to the delight of thousands of spectators.

Event organiser Ken Toyne said: “Everything went exceptionally well, there were no problems whatsoever with the crowds and the weather was kind to us. We estimate that there were 5,500 visitors to the gorge for the festival and 3,000 were still on site to witness the fireworks display.

“The parish council provided the money for the fireworks show. They and the suppliers did a marvellous job by providing the huge display for just £500.”

Mr Toyne added: “A huge vote of thanks goes to Telford & Wrekin Council, the Gorge Parish Council, local businesses and the Ironbridge community, all of whom worked together to make this event possible.

“We hope to put on an even more spectacular event next year, as in 2011 we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Ironbridge Gorge being designated a World Heritage Site.”

Ironbridge is regarded as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Mr Toyne organised Saturday’s celebration almost alone and so volunteers would be welcomed.

Anyone interested in offering their services is asked to contact the Gorge Parish Council at Unit C22, Maws Craft Centre, Jackfield, Telford, on (01952) 883192.

By Simon Hardy

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