THOUSANDS of people turned out in the beautiful summer weather to enjoy a huge Party in the Park.

Moss Bank Park was transformed into a huge open air festival complete with showstopping performances on the main stage — and a spectacular fire-eating act involving the Bishop of Bolton, The Rt Rev Chris Edmondson.

The event was organised by St Peter’s Church Halliwell with other churches of all denominations to celebrate Hope 2014, where churches work together for the good of the community.

Hope 2014 Party in the Park opened with a huge open service attended by 500 people.

There was a balloon launch where people tagged on labels sharing their prayers and hopes for the future, and more balloons were released throughout the day to spread hope.

Attractions included performances by school children at Church Road Primary and St Peter’s CE Smithills Dean, on the main stage, as well as sporting competitions, including five -a-side on an inflatable pitch.

There was also a cafe tent, displays, stalls and the emergency services also turned out to enjoy the sun.

The Rev Alan Saunders, curate at St Peter’s Church, said: “This was our flagship event for Hope 2014 and we wanted to open it up to the whole community.

“In the past we have held picnics in the park but this year we wanted the whole community to attend and it was sharing God’s love in the community.

“We had 3,000 visitors throughout the day. The weather makes a difference and there was real sense of community.

“I hope that through the event new friendships have been built between and that there are new opportunities for people to work together for the good of the community.”

The next big event in the Hope 2014 calendar will be at the Macron Stadium in the Platinum Suite, where an inspirational Christian speaker Andy Hawthorne will be guest of honour and there will be music and drama.

That takes place on September 28.

For more information regarding the events, visit