A NEW company has been chosen to take over the running of Christchurch Food Festival from 2020.

The directors of the Christchurch Food Festival Community Interest Company have endorsed Real Food Festivals as their preferred candidate to take over the annual event from next year.

Chairman David Badley said: "We are so excited to be celebrating 20 years of the Christchurch Food Festival this year. I believe the festival plays a major role in sustaining the town’s economic viability and that over the years this has helped to set Christchurch apart from other towns and to create its own niche market which raises the profile of the town as a quality tourism destination.

"We are all proud of our provenance whether it be food, drink or heritage and we wish Real Food every success in building on our strong foundations for running the festival.”

Some years after the event began in 2000, Christchurch Borough Council was no longer able to continue its financial and administrative support, so the organisers created a Community Interest Company to run the festival as a not-for-profit basis. Company directors have always been unpaid volunteers from the local community.

Real Food Festivals has staged some of the biggest food events in the UK, London and internationally, including the Walthamstow Garden Party and the weekly Real Food Market outside Kings Cross Station, as well as the Canopy Market at Kings Cross.

Managing director Philip Lowery said: “We are really delighted to have received this endorsement and personally, as someone who has moved to Christchurch in the last two years, I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in developing what is clearly one of the pre-eminent food festivals in the UK.

"We can’t wait to continue to evolve this event still further and build on the incredible foundation created over the last 20 years.”

This year's Christchurch Food Festival takes place on May 11 and 12.