THE Highbridge Festival of the Arts will go ahead next year after the 65th anniversary proved to be one of the most successful to date.

More than 1,500 people flocked to the Princess Theatre and Arts Centre in Burnham to cheer on almost 1,700 performers over the ten-day festival.

Highlights included Highbridge’s Lucy Gunter Dance and Theatre Arts Centre, winning a gold medal in an under-12 group and silver in the 13-21 group, and the under-12s representing Curtain Call School of Performing Arts in Burnham, being awarded a silver medal with a bronze for their adult group.

There were good results for all local primary schools who took part in speech and drama, while the music section was well represented by local singers and musicians.

General secretary and organiser Maureen Phillips said: “It was a big success. The festival’s really worthwhile – it gives local people a public stage, giving them enormous confidence.

“Getting up there is a big thing and it takes a lot of courage.

“We’re delighted that the Princess Theatre is still open for business as it’s a huge asset to the two towns.

“It’s an ideal place to hold the festival with the staging, seating and dressing rooms all in place.

“The committee would like to thank everyone in the local area who has supported us, and we’re looking forward to the 66th festival, which will be held in March, 2013.”

“We’ve had a very traumatic two years because money has been very tight, so now we’ve really got our heads down with the fundraising effort and we’ve been supported by just about everyone in the community.”

The provisional dates for next year’s festival are March 6-15.

If you are interested in helping with another raffle like the one which raised £700 towards festival funds, contact Ann Burridge on 01278-785778.

To become a friend of the festival, call Maureen Phillips on 01278-780615 or Greg Fear on 07577-960973.