A HEREFORDSHIRE festival has been hailed a success by organisers after a series of socially distanced events went ahead despite coronavirus restrictions.

Leominster Festival celebrated the return of live performance to the town after being cancelled last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival's opening weekend kicked off on Friday, July 2 with a market and brewery tasting day. In the evening, more than 150 people took their seat on Broad Street to take part in the Grape Vaults’ street quiz.

Hereford Times: Bassoon soloist Rebecca Eldridge performing with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra at the Priory Church, Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare Bassoon soloist Rebecca Eldridge performing with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra at the Priory Church, Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare

Hereford Times: Conductor Michael Lloyd and the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Leominster Festival 2021. Photo: Richard Shakespeare Conductor Michael Lloyd and the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Leominster Festival 2021. Photo: Richard Shakespeare

More than 700 people attended Saturday’s Green Family Fun Day, despite threats of rain.

The event included free activities for children, e-vehicle displays, and stalls from Herefordshire Green Network, Woodland Trust and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

Sunday saw many people turn out for the Fetch Theatre Puppet Show’s Insect Safari which took place in the Secret Garden just off Corn Square.

At the Priory Church, a celebration service was held in honour of Westfield School, which supports children and young adults with severe or complex learning difficulties, and is celebrating its 50th year.

Hereford Times: Grapes Big Street Quiz, Leominster Broad Street 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare Grapes Big Street Quiz, Leominster Broad Street 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare

Hereford Times: Jenny Pipes Morris performing at the Leominster Festival. Picture: Ricahrd Shakespeare Jenny Pipes Morris performing at the Leominster Festival. Picture: Ricahrd Shakespeare

The weekend was closed in style with the return of the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra to the Priory Church.

Festival trustee Wendy Coombey said: “Between Covid restrictions and the weather, this year has not been without its challenges, but we are so happy that we have been able to hold events again this year.

“We had so many local businesses involved in giving towards raffle prizes and offering their support to the festival which is a charity, run entirely by volunteers.

Hereford Times: Leominster Mayor John Rumsey at the Leominster Festival Big Green Family Fun Day. Picture: Richard Shakespeare Leominster Mayor John Rumsey at the Leominster Festival Big Green Family Fun Day. Picture: Richard Shakespeare

Hereford Times: RSPCA Herefordshire Dog Show, Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare RSPCA Herefordshire Dog Show, Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare

"What a return to live events, we couldn’t be more grateful to all our supporters, volunteers and audiences for making the weekend possible.”

The last festival event for 2021 takes place this Friday, 9 July at the Priory Church, with Hereford Cathedral organist Peter Dyke performing Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf with narration by Leominster's own Town Crier Richard Brookman.

Hereford Times: Storytime at Grange Court with Leominster Library. Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare Storytime at Grange Court with Leominster Library. Leominster Festival 2021. Picture: Richard Shakespeare

Tickets for the event are available the Festival website: www.leominsterfestival.org, or via the Tourist Information Centre in Corn Square.