Harpenden Jigsaw Festival coming together one piece at a time

"Jigsaw John" is looking forward to the first Harpenden Jigsaw Festival.

"Jigsaw John" is looking forward to the first Harpenden Jigsaw Festival. - Credit: Colin Metcalfe

Don't go to pieces at the news that Harpenden is to hold it's first-ever jigsaw festival.

The festival is taking place between August 27-30 at High Street Methodist Church, organised in conjunction with Our Lady of Lourdes.

All of the proceeds from the event will be split 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.

Organisers have been overwhelmed by the support from the local community in donating and making up jigsaw puzzles and there will be well over 1,000 puzzles available to view and to buy over the three day festival.

These include jigsaws in a wide variety of subjects and sizes, for both adults and children. In addition, four companies - Gibsons, JHG, 100 PICS and Wentworth - have sponsored the festival by donating their own brand new jigsaws, and advertising the festival on social media.

The festival has prompted comments from many Harpenden residents about how making up jigsaw puzzles has helped them
during the long lockdown periods, particularly through the dark winter months.

Organiser Colin Metcalfe said: "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.

"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."

The original idea for a Harpenden festival came from one of the organisers stumbling upon a similar event in Lancashire in 2019 and suggesting upon his return that the town might follow suit.

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The festival will be open from 9am to 6pm on each day with last entrance at 5.30pm. There will be a £2 entrance fee, with accompanied children free, and light refreshments will be available.

For further information on the festival, please visit the website www.harpendenjigsawfestival.co.uk or follow the Facebook page @harpendenjigsawfestival.

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