DOZENS of culture lovers flocked to a Test Valley hotel to witness the launch event of a year-long festival.

Over 80 residents gathered at The Grosvenor Hotel in High Street, Stockbridge, to kick-start the Test Valley 2020 Borough of Culture on Thursday, January 16.

Test Valley 2020 has been awarded £50,000 from Hampshire County Council and is designed to celebrate the people, places, culture and heritage of the borough.

Chair of Trustees for Test Valley Arts Foundation, Yinnon Ezra, said: "The Creative Industries are one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy.

"We want to support and promote creativity in this predominantly rural region. Inspiring and influencing creative growth and enjoyment.”

The launch event was attended by the mayor of Test Valley, Martin Hatley, artists who live in the area and business sponsors.

Guests were able to enjoy music from Broughton band China Wolf and and a brass quintet provided by Michelmersh Silver Band.

The festival, organised by Test Valley Arts Foundation, also aims to promote the variety of arts and cultural activities already taking place in Test Valley, while supporting new events that are in the pipeline.

The festival will run until December 1.

Test Valley Borough of Culture will receive further funding from Test Valley Borough Council and Romsey Festival.

To find out about Test Valley 2020’s free publicity and support for your event, or to see what’s on visit