Pupils perfect their moves on the eve of carnival day

Aalya Khan, Zahra Khan, Sarah Lockhart and Michelle Latifi, all nine, of Kingfisher Class at St Francis Primary School, run through a dress rehearsal of their Morris dance for Cowley Road Carnival. Picture: OX68434 Cliff Hide

Aalya Khan, Zahra Khan, Sarah Lockhart and Michelle Latifi, all nine, of Kingfisher Class at St Francis Primary School, run through a dress rehearsal of their Morris dance for Cowley Road Carnival. Picture: OX68434 Cliff Hide Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

FINAL preparations are under way for tomorrow’s Cowley Road Carnival.

Staff and students at St Francis Primary School, in Horspath Road, were busy rehearsing their dance moves and preparing costumes ahead of their performance.

This year’s theme is Oxford Faces and the school’s display will celebrate the University of Oxford’s Botanic Garden and its first head gardener Jacob Bobart.

To fit with his 1600s life, children from the school’s Kingfisher Class will be performing traditional morris dancing and stick dancing.

Helen Couling, who teaches the eight to 10-year-olds, said: “We focussed on Jacob Bobart as it connected with our science topic of plants and living things, focussing on plants and linking with our English country gardens theme.”

She said: “We had the support of a visiting artist to create Jacob Bobart’s head made of willow, with his hair and beard made from hedgerow plants and grasses.”

Nadeen Shah, nine, from Cowley, right, said: “I’m not nervous because we’ve practised loads.”

There will be also more modern faces at the carnival thanks to a Disney-themed activities station on Manzil Way throughout the day.

The Change4Life stand will launch Oxfordshire County Council’s Eat Well, Move More campaign which aims to encourage families to have a healthier summer holiday.

Hilary Hibbert-Biles, cabinet member for public health, said: “Healthy children grow up to become healthy adults and this campaign aims to sow the seed of a good diet and an active lifestyle.”

Putting on the carnival costs £100,000 in total, with £10,000 coming from local businesses and an undisclosed sum from the MINI plant in Cowley.

Danielle Battigelli, the executive director at Cowley Road Works, said: “We are delighted that more traders have stepped forward with support. However, there are still many businesses who benefit tremendously from extra trade on carnival day who remain unwilling to step in with financial help.”

Cowley Road Carnival runs from noon to 6pm tomorrow.

Oxford Bus Company said the city5 and Brookesbus U5 services will divert via Iffley Road until 8pm.

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