THE resourceful organisers of an annual festival found a way to celebrate the occasion despite the coronavirus pandemic.

LagoonFest 2020, which has raised funds to support improvement works in the Hove Lagoon area over the last three years, had to be cancelled with government restrictions on gatherings and distancing remaining in place.

So on Saturday, the day it was due to take place, members of community group Friends of Hove Lagoon and the Social Society - a Brighton group which helps charity efforts by sharing its members’ skills and expertise - instead hosted the Hove Lagoon Big Picnic.

The ticketed event encouraged households to come down to the lagoon and enjoy a day in the sun, with groups each being allocated a “socially distanced picnic heart”.

There were also plenty of fun activities for families, with LagoonFunplay providing tokens for its rides and attractions.

Wish ward Councillor Robert Nemeth, chairman of the Friends of Hove Lagoon, said: “These events don’t happen without volunteers and support from the local community.

“I am grateful that a decent number helped and attended once again.

“We pledge to be back next year with a bigger and better Lagoonfest.”

Sue Johnson, who is also responsible for founding and organising the LagoonFest events, said she had been disappointed not to be able to celebrate what would have been the event’s third year.

But she heralded the success of the Big Picnic, which provided an enjoyable alternative to LagoonFest.

Sue said : “We were disappointed not to have LagoonFest on Saturday, particularly with the fine weather.

“However, we are so grateful to Toni from the Social Society for her idea and for working with us at The Hove Lagoon Big Picnic.

“Everyone had a great time and we can’t thank the workshop leads enough for giving up their time for free and to LagoonFunplay for donating tokens.”

LagoonFest was first held in 2018 with owner of the Big Beach Cafe Fatboy Slim (real name Norman Cook) throwing his support behind the event.

The superstar DJ has since become a patron of the festival.

It has raised thousands of pounds, allowing Friends of Hove Lagoon to complete a series of projects to improve the area.