A FESTIVAL of football was celebrated in Basingstoke over the weekend, and football fans of all ages braved the rain to take part.

The Rotary Club of Basingstoke's first Festival of Football took place on Saturday, July 6, at the Winklebury Sports Complex.

Beginning at 11am, participants, mainly made up of children, began the day by witnessing a special open training session from Basingstoke Town Community Football Club, before Mayor of Basingstoke, Cllr Dan Putty, gave an address.

Groups arrived to warm up before the main events kicked off.

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Leon, Emilia and Sophie Duly were enjoying the dayLeon, Emilia and Lily Duly were enjoying the day (Image: Newsquest)

Five-a-side tournaments, penalty shootouts and various other sporting activities took place on the pitch, to the delight of all involved.

As well as the sport, there were other activities for participants to enjoy including a raffle, complete with some top prizes such as tickets to a Premier League match next season, with the prize draw at a later date.

President of the Rotary Club of Basingstoke, Dr Tunde Adelakun, was the brains behind the event.

With a background in international football coaching, he wanted to "bring the whole Basingstoke community together with the power of football".

He said: "Our football festival, first of its kind in Basingstoke, was a really good one. We are very happy as Rotary Club, to have been able to bring cheer to the faces of many young ones in our community. 

Andy, Greg and Terry were taking shots against eachotherAndy, Greg and Terry were taking shots against eachother (Image: Newsquest)

"Having the Basingstoke Town FC team play a training match while we watched, the competitiveness and desire in the team and the coaching and management of the club fill us with hope that we, as a community will have a successful season. 

"It was a really good launchpad for our own activities - and the five-a-side tournament was something else. Tell you what, we discovered quite a few talented youngsters in our community who will go on to be great players in future.

"Special thanks also to the Mayor of Basingstoke Dan Putty and the District Governor of Rotary Debbie Dunford who attended the event from start to finish and assisted in presenting medals to our players.

"All in all, a fantastic day, a great platform upon which we are determined to build in coming years. The weather played its part, but since when does a little rain stand in the way of football being celebrated? 

"We hope to be back again in the coming months as we aim to continue to unite and involve the Basingstoke community through sport, powered by the Rotary Club of Basingstoke."