MORE than 52,000 people were drawn to the third Light Up Poole festival last month, organisers say.

Boasting a number of installations around town, the event – funded by Arts Council England and sponsored by Poole BID – is estimated to be worth around £1.6 million to the local economy.

According to organisers, an average of 7,000 filed through St James' Church at the 'What do You Have Faith In' fire artist installation.

Meanwhile, around 8,500 people flocked to Mig Burgess' installation on mental health at Orchard Plaza, during the three evenings of the festival.

Poole BID director Jeanette Walsh, who owns the Truly Scrumptious sweet shop on Poole High Street, said: "The streets were filled with excitement and light.

“As a business owner it was great to see so many people in Poole over the three nights.

"We stayed open until 10pm each night and felt very much part of the event and the community.”

The festival, which was supported by talks and presentations at The Lighthouse Theatre, also received financial backing from BCP Council and a range of private businesses.

It also included work on show at the Dolphin Shopping Centre.

Poole Town councillor Mark Howell, deputy leader of BCP Council and portfolio holder for regeneration and culture, said: “In three short years Light Up Poole has become a signature event for Poole, enabling residents and visitors to experience the town centre’s historic and natural environment through the medium of contemporary light artwork.

"BCP Council is pleased to have supported this year’s festival, which included mesmeric, impactful and entertaining work, and we look forward to working with Audacious, the organiser, on the 2021 festival.”

The festival returns to Poole in February next year – when the theme will be 'Mother Nature'.

Launching the festival, Adam Gent relationship manager at Arts Council England, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to see Light Up Poole grow and establish itself.

"The best projects break down the barriers between people and publicly funded culture – Light Up Poole feels like the future.”