A MONTH of singalongs, poetry readings and wellbeing days is set to take place to help put the bright back into Brightlingsea.

The Brightlingsea WinterFest has come along in leaps and bounds since it was first launched in 2015.

It was set up by Alix Sheppard who lost her partner Joe Keighley after he ended his life.

The well-known musician from the band the Vipers had suffered a long battle with depression.

After his death, the festival was launched to help everyone cope with the dark winter months.

Alix said the festival will continue to raise money for Mind and raise awareness of mental health.

She said: “We are delighted WinterFest 2020 is all set to be one of the best ever, with some new events, some well-established favourites, lots of music and plenty of opportunities for people to enjoy themselves and take part in activities to enhance their wellbeing.

“WinterFest has a packed programme throughout February and starts on a high note on February 1 with poet Martin Newell appearing at a cabaret afternoon at the Rosebud pub and the Firebird Seven, featuring Brightlingsea’s Jevon Ellis and an ex-Iron Maiden guitarist playing in the evening.

“Jevon is also the inspiration behind a new event for WinterFest, The Great Big Pancake Party.

“He used to organise such parties when he lived in London and now we hope the idea will take off across Brightlingsea on Pancake Day.”

Another new initiative for WinterFest is a well-being and fun weekend at the Fresh Fitness centre in Brightlingsea on February 15 and 16, including free taster exercise classes and wellness workshops.

The list of free events includes poetry and book readings, a quiz night, an open mic night and wellbeing fun days.

A weekend of arts and crafts activities will take place at Brightlingsea Sailing Club on February 22 and 23.

The festival will conclude on February 29 with a comedy night at The Rosebud on Hurst Green.

For further information, including dates and locations for the events, visit www.brightlingseawinterfest.co.uk.

Alternatively anyone interested can search for Brightlingsea Winter Fest on Facebook.