A FESTIVAL could make Whitchurch a destination town, according to organisers.

The event in March 2022, will celebrate illustrator Randolph Caldecott, who lived in the town in the 1860s between the ages of 15 and 21 and sold his first drawing to the Illustrated London News during that time.

It is hoped the festival will become a biannual event.

Dr Norma Raynes, event organiser, is hoping it will bring new people to the town and boost the existing businesses.

She said: "As well as celebrating the life of Caldecott, we want to raise the profile of the historic market town of Whitchurch that nurtured his talent, and bring the community together for a brilliant day out.

"We are building this event from the ground up, working with local businesses, clubs, and societies to promote the town.

"We want Whitchurch to become the ‘go-to town’ for a family friendly arts festival, encouraging and inspiring people of all ages to live their dreams as Caldecott did.”

Dr Raynes said the event will celebrate the people of Whitchurch and the town’s heritage.

She added: "Many locals aren’t aware of [Caldecott's] wonderful work but that is all set to change with the launch of our brand-new festival.

"Caldecott is an inspirational artist, cartoonist, travel writer and illustrator who greatly influenced the illustration of children’s books during and since the 19th century.

"The festival will bring together illustration, art workshops, music, street theatre, sculpture, writing, storytelling, crafts, pottery, bell ringing, fun characters, photography, films, games and a market."