A HUGE crowd gathered to mark the tenth birthday of an iconic venue in Colchester - and there was more than one reason to celebrate.

Almost 1,500 people visited Firstsite, off High Street, on Sunday to celebrate its landmark anniversary with a big, free party.

And there was good reason to celebrate too, with the prestigious gallery being crowned the winner of Art Fund’s Museum of the Year award - landing £100,000 in prize money.

Visitors enjoyed delicious food from a variety of different community groups’ stalls offering cuisine from around the world.

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Outside the iconic building, a ferris wheel on the Berryfield lawn took people for a leisurely spin in the air, giving them a chance to admire Firstsite, the surrounding gardens and Colchester’s other landmarks.

Live music performances took place throughout the day, and inside the building there were free shows to enjoy, including the new Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021 exhibition and “@background_bob, and his amazing friends - guess who’s back!”.

Firstsite director Sally Shaw said it was an “amazing event”.

“There’s so much to celebrate, not only the successes of Firstsite, but also the resilience, determination and positivity in our community, especially over the past 18 months,” she said.

“This was the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together safely to just enjoy socialising in our inspiring building and outside spaces.

“It was also a chance for us to say thank you to the community for their support over the years, we are so grateful to all our visitors, funders and supporters, especially during the pandemic when so many generous people gave donations to help us continue our work, even when our building was closed.

“There was such an incredible atmosphere throughout our building and on the beautiful lawn where people could enjoy live music and take a spin on the ferris wheel.

“It was wonderful to bring so many people together to enjoy art and food, and to have fun and relax.”