Day: June 18, 2008

Jousting to return to castle

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JOUSTING is making a welcome return to Berkeley Castle this summer.

In July the castle will play host to the Berkeley Skirmish, a new two-day event, which it is hoped will go someway to replace the popular Joust.

Last summer the two-weekend Joust event, which was in its seventh year, had to be cancelled because of the heavy flooding that affected the region.

advertisementThe Joust used to attract more than 10,000 people to the area and its cancellation was devastating for Berkeley and the company Grail Presents that organised it, which faced financial ruin as a consequence.

However, Chris Bruce and his wife Karen Hill from Cheshire-based company Plantagenet Events Ltd, are hoping the new Berkeley Skirmish will help boost tourism.

Mr Bruce said: “We used to get involved with the Joust and we know how good it was. This is going to be smaller than the Joust because we are only just starting out, but we hope it will grow.

“Last year was devastating for everyone, not just the show, but for Berkeley and the entire region.

“What we want to do is support each other and hopefully re-establish an event that was so popular and such a boost for the area and it will give Gloucestershire something positive to advertise.

“We are only a small company, we do not have the financial resources the Joust had, but the response we are already getting from people within the medieval re-enactment world is incredible, everyone wants to come back to Berkeley.”

The Berkeley Skirmish will include living history, 70 traders, battle re-enactments, archery and some jousting.

Tim Davies, marketing director for the Berkeley Estate, said: “The advantage of this company is that they have been involved with Berkeley before so they know how it was done and what is available.

“Losing the Joust was a big blow, not just to us at the castle but to the local area. The fact that we can establish a similar event is very, very pleasing and we are looking forward to it.”

The Berkeley Skirmish will be held at Berkeley Castle on Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27.

Plantagenet Events Ltd is in no way connected to Grail Presents, the company that ran the Joust.

By Liza-Jane Gillespie