MORE than 2,000 residents attended a festival showcasing the town’s cultural diversity.

Warrington Mela, organised by Warrington Ethnic Communities Association (WECA), took place at Queen’s Gardens at Palmyra Square on Sunday.

The event, supported by Warrington Borough Council, saw double the number of visitors from last year’s spectacle.

Entertainment included the talented Desi Nach, Rhythm of Warrington and Miz Diva, while food, henna and clothing stalls also featured.

Warrington Guardian:

Desi Nach dancers

Mo Hussain, WECA secretary and vice chairman of Warrington Islamic Association, hailed the efforts of volunteers following four months of planning.

But he is already turning his attention to next year’s event, which will be the tenth to date.

He said: “I am really pleased because this is what I have been looking for, we have people from a range of different countries here enjoying themselves.

“We don’t just want people from the Asian community to attend but people from all of the different communities.

“I think it will be bigger in 2020. It has reached maximum capacity this year but I really hope we can make it even better next year.”

Warrington Guardian:

The event has been hailed by councillors, organisers, volunteers and stall holders

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden, deputy Cllr Cathy Mitchell, Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and community, Mayor of Warrington Cllr Wendy Johnson, Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner David Keane, Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid and Tory Warrington South parliamentary candidate Andy Carter were among those in attendance.

Labour's Mr Rashid was keen to highlight the significance of the event.

He said: “It is really important in terms of where we are going – racial discrimination is on the rise in Britain and these types of events bring people together.

“When we talk about toleration, I don’t think we should use tolerate because we don’t tolerate each other and we shouldn’t tolerate each other, we should love each other, respect each other and accept each other.

“I will continue to support these events – these are very important because we get to know each other well.”

Cllr Higgins hailed the council for continuing to support the event in the face of budget cuts.

Warrington Guardian:

A henna stall featured at the festival

Cllr Higgins said: “We don’t just talk about diversity but actively encourage and support it.

“But for some people diversity is a threat, whether that’s based on intolerance or pure ignorance, it’s a challenge we all must face up to if we are to end bigotry across all areas of our society and that is why events such as the Mela are important.”