Sunshine smiles on Hampstead Heath’s funfair

SCORCHING temperatures ensured that Hampstead Heath’s traditional funfair was a blazing success over the Easter weekend.

The funfair has been held on the Heath for more than a century and attracts families from all over London.

This year was no exception as well-known faces mingled with young families and teenagers – with temperatures reaching 26 degrees.

Former This Morning presenter Richard Madeley was spotted on the dodgems with his son Jack and a group of his friends.

Russell Oppenheimer, 37, owner of Daisy Blue baby clothes shop, also went along with his three young children.

He said: “I’m a great supporter of the fair. It’s a traditional funfair and it’s been coming to Hampstead for more than 100 years.

“It’s one of the reasons that Hampstead became a destination for people across London. As a father of three young children, I find it useful because they get very excited about it and love going.

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“I’m aware that in the past there was the occasional fight but the policing of it these days is very good. It’s a positive thing for NW3.”

Jonathan Bergman is owner of Amberden Estates agency in South End Green and chairman of the South Hill Park Watch Safer Neighbourhoods group in South End Green. He said: “I drove past it with my wife and commented on how orderly it appeared and how quiet it was.

“People seem to go there with their families. The people who run it have been associated with us for a very long time. They are part of Hampstead.

“You always get the complainers – but try telling the children that. My 19-year-old daughter went. Personally, I think it’s a colourful, popular event.”

But not everyone was so enthusiastic about the event, which took place on the Spaniards Road side of the Heath from Good Friday to Easter Monday.

Amjad Butragueno, of Icon The Opticians in South End Road, said: “I’ve lived here for almost 40 years and it used to be fun.

“But it brings so many people from outside Hampstead. Boys were racing their mopeds around South End Green while people were crossing the road. It’s fun for some people but when I went on Hampstead Heath so much litter had been left behind.”

Conservative Hampstead councillor Chris Knight said: “It’s always been an attraction which brings people to Hampstead village and South End Green. In that respect, it’s good for the area.

“But a lot of local people find the noise from the generators and pollution, frankly frustrating and I fall into that category.”

A Corporation of London press officer said that there were three arrests on the Heath over the weekend. They included one arrest for a public order offence and two for bylaw offences, which prohibit people from being a nuisance or acting indecently in public.