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Festival celebrates 800 years of history.

RE-AWAKENING Lea Village - a community project that has brought alive the secret heritage of an area of Birmingham that dates back to 1275 - celebrates its work with a new festival tomorrow.

From 2pm, there will be arts activities and performances and other attractions in and around the village.

The traditional festival with a modern twist will include face painting, pottery and finger puppet workshops, Punch and Judy shows, Morris dancing, Lea Village's Got Talent and the premiere of The Lost Village, a community film written by and starring local residents.

Re-Awakening Lea Village is a heritage project about the area's lost buildings and its oral history. John Cotton, Labour councillor for Shard End ward, said: "Reawakening Lea Village is a genuinely home-grown project.

"It has been developed and led by local people, who want to ensure the 800 year-old story of their neighbourhood is celebrated and protected for future generations to share and enjoy.

"There is a wealth of local stories that have been uncovered," he added.

"This includes the burning at the stake of Vaninus, a local atheist, the installing of an ack-ack gun during the war and the laying of Lea Village by German prisoners of war.

"As well as the discovery of some very famous names with a connection to this part of the world, people like football manager Ron Atkinson, actor Kevin McNally and musician Jeff Lynne from ELO, I'm delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund backed the project and I'm looking forward to the festival, a culmination of a lot of hard work."

Local resident Roger Lee, who was the instigator of the project, said he was dismayed that, after moving away from the area and then returning, few people knew Lea Village's history.

"I felt that over the years the area had lost its identity and had been swallowed up by Kitts Green," he added.

For more information contact Reel Access on 0121 6758391 or info@reelaccess.

org.uk.

CAPTION(S):

Crossing Lea Ford on the River Cole in May 1938, and right, Locals at the Lea Hall Tavern in the early 20th century.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 24, 2013
Words:350
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