Many thanks to the organisers of Harpenden Jigsaw Festival for contributing the below.
Harpenden, a small town in Hertfordshire, is holding its first ever Jigsaw Festival on Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Monday 30 August 2021 at High Street Methodist Church, located in the centre of the town. The festival is being organized by two local churches, Our Lady of Lourdes and High Street Methodist, and all of the proceeds will be divided equally between two charities, Azalea (a Luton based charity which reaches out to women trapped in sexual exploitation) and Workaid (a Chesham charity which collects and refurbishes unwanted tools for use in disadvantaged communities abroad).
There has been an incredible response from the local community in donating and making up jigsaw puzzles and there will be over 1,000 available to view and to buy over the three-day festival. There will be puzzles in a wide variety of subjects and sizes, for both adults and children.
Many residents have commented how much making up jigsaw puzzles has helped them during the long lockdown periods, particularly through the dark winter months.
One octogenarian, now affectionately known locally as ‘Jigsaw John’ has himself made up over 60 jigsaws for the festival. He said that he could not believe he would be spending his retirement time doing jigsaw puzzles, but it has helped him survive lockdown.
Jigsaw John with Gibson puzzles. He said “I always choose Gibsons. They are good puzzles, the pieces fit firmly and they are a British company”
Margaret, another local octogenarian thanked the festival organisers, saying that making up jigsaws keeps her fingers nimble, her brain ticking over and helps the time go by. It also took her mind off being isolated during the pandemic.
An event organizer, Jon Carr from the Developing World Group at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, who suggested the idea after witnessing a similar event in Lancashire, has been delighted that during a difficult year the Harpenden community has come together to help. He hopes that the event, coming so soon after restrictions are due to ease further, will give pleasure to those attending and will also raise a large sum of money for two deserving charities.
The festival event in the church will be open from 9.00am to 6.00pm on each day with last entrance at 5.30pm. There will be a £2.00 entrance fee, with accompanied children free, and light refreshments will be available.