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26 May, 2015 - 11:21 By Jamie Quested

Joust giving to ensure future of Peterborough festival


Vivacity Culture and Leisure, which manages a number of cultural facilities in Peterborough has turned to crowdfunding site Just Giving in a bid to make the city’s Heritage Festival fully sustainable.

The festival, which attracted over 30,000 people last year has received financial backing from long-established company, Perkins Engines which has agreed to be sponsor for the next three years.

This year’s event is on June 20 and 21 and will see the first town-centre medieval jousting tournament in England since 1467. A full blown joust is being held twice daily on the Cathedral green with plate-armoured knights tilting at each other in a specially constructed arena.

The knights taking part in the joust come from across Europe, and are reputed to be some of world’s finest. Two of the knights recently escorted the coffin of Richard III through the streets of Leicester as part of the funeral commemorations.

The Peterborough Heritage Festival covers 3,500 years of history in the UK’s only city centre multi-period living history festival. It features over 300 costumed re-enactors from some of the country’s top Living History groups, giving visitors a chance to meet costumed characters from the past, from Bronze Age warriors to World War II airmen. Costumed characters, including King John and Edith Cavell, will be mingling with the crowds and holding audience sessions.

Peterborough Heritage Festival by Dan Barratt
Photograph by Dan Barratt

There is a children’s Zone featuring jesters, storytellers, games and activities on St John’s Square. There will also be be family activities in a hands-on science marquee on Cathedral Square, as well as chance to find out the story behind local company, Perkins Engines.

A period market is being held in the precincts, with displays of historic crafts and trades alongside historically themed gifts. The Food Fayre will showcase everything from artisan foodmakers to local farms, including cheeses, breads, unusual drinks, meats and more.

On Saturday, June 20 Cambridge-educated historian and broadcaster, David Starkey, will give a keynote lecture about the importance of the Magna Carta in its 800th anniversary year.

There’s a chance to get more involved with the joust through a reward scheme for donations of £15 upwards on Just Giving. For a £500 pledge to the festival you get to award a prize at the joust, a Knight will carry your favour into the joust, you receive four tickets to meet the knights and their horses in the palace gardens, four tickets to David Starkey, four tickets to the VIP drinks reception, and two books signed by David Starkey.

Vivacity’s commitments include Peterborough Museum, Flag Fen and Longthorpe Tower. Anyone wishing to donate, but would prefer to remain anonymous on JustGiving, can call Peterborough Museum on 01733 864662. Full details on the Heritage Festival programme can be accessed via the organisation’s website.

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