COMEDIAN Alexander Armstrong joined thousands of Witney food lovers for the inaugural Witney Food Festival.

The festival was held at St Mary’s Church, Church Green, on Saturday and an estimated 4,000 people enjoyed food and drink produced within a 30-mile radius.

Mr Armstrong, who lives in West Oxfordshire, opened the festival and there were talks from people including Government school food tsar Henry Dimbleby and cookery classes. Among those demonstrating was the ‘Ravenous Rector’, Toby Wright, rector at St Mary’s.

Festival co-ordinator Elpie Lewis hailed the event a “phenomenal success.” She said: “We printed 2,000 programmes and ran out early afternoon. It has been amazing and there was a real buzz. The town came alive.”

Mrs Lewis said: “Alexander Armstrong was great, he made a lovely speech and is a great supporter of the local economy.”

Among those tucking in was Louisa Nutt, 44, from Witney, and her seven-year-old twins Bilbo, and Millis.

Regular churchgoer Louisa said: “It was fantastic, very busy with lots of activities for children. It was a lovely chance for people who don’t normally go to church to join in.”

The event was held to showcase, celebrate and support local farmers, butchers, bakers, brewers and cooks.