CHURCHGOERS from across the county have travelled across the Dorset border to attend a popular Christian faith event.

Almost 10,000 people have attended the opening week of New Wine’s United 18 summer gathering at the Royal Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet.

A further 8,000 are expected over the second week of the event, with day and evening tickets still available on the gate.

Across the programme guests have been able to attend a wide-range of lectures, seminars and worship opportunities.

The gathering brings people together from across the denominations of the church.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was in attendance earlier this week.

Representatives from one Dorset church that joined the Archbishop in Somerset were members of the All Saints’ Church in Branksome Park congregation.

Vicar Charlie Boyle was attending the event for the third time.

He told the Daily Echo: “There have been around 15 of us from All Saints’ camping here over the first week.

“It is a great gathering because there really is something for everyone.

“This is the last year in this part of the country so I think a lot of extra people have decided to come, whether that is because they came here before or wanted to see it before it moves to Peterborough next year.

“The programme has so much variety. It has opportunities to look at relationships or civil justice, there is almost everything.”

“There is something special about gathering together with other Christians of other denominations.”

Speakers at the event come from overseas, including Darren Rouanzoin, who is lead pastor of Garden Church, Long Beach, California. New Wine has hosted the event for more than two decades and it has continued to grow over this period.

Rev Boyle added: “The main reason we love it is because the children enjoy it so much. They come with friends and make better friends by the time we leave.

“There is also a lot of resources for vicars, with the Market Place providing a great offering.”

“I really enjoy the opportunity to spend time with people from your church that you would not normally be able to do.”

More info about the event go to