COMMUNITIES across Worcestershire got together on Sunday, June 1, for the sixth annual Big Lunch, which encourages to residents get together with their neighbours for community friendship and fun.

In Malvern Wells, festivities focused on the village hall and club, where residents held a bring-and-share buffet lunch, with Worcester Ukulele Club providing entertainment.

Organisations such as the WI, the Wells Singers, the Wells Players and churches showcased their activities and a collection for the Stroke Association was successful.

Spokesman Ken Beecroft said: “We are a very linear village and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between our community and the greater Malvern area. Our aim is to develop a focal point for the village around the hall, and we believe the Big Lunch is making a major contribution to this aim.”

Residents of Cowleigh Road, also in Malvern, took to the streets for a party, complete with barbecue, skittles and table tennis competitions, a kids' hat-making competition, a magician and live music.

The party was opened by long-standing local resident Les Hall, and about 150 residents enjoyed a warm and relaxed afternoon chatting with neighbours, cooking and eating sausages and burgers, and enjoying a glass of wine or cup of tea.

Some children recorded themselves reading stories from an edition of the Malvern Gazette of the 1870s.

Organiser Nick Harmer said: “We’ve definitely noticed a difference in our community since starting The Big Lunch. Many people now know far more neighbours beyond the houses to their immediate right or left. People stop and have a chat when seeing each other on the street.”

And the Big Lunch wasn't the only attraction on Sunday: foodies found themselves drawn to the town centre by the irresistible Italian food market, Italia in Piazza.

While accordion music echoed around Abbey Road, shoppers could browse among a wide selection of salamis, pizza, pasta and special Italian breads.

Cllr Phil Grove, portfolio holder for economic development at MHDC, said: “Events like this are great at bringing people to the town. The market provided a lovely atmosphere over the weekend.”