ORGANISERS of this year's Keighley Arts and Film Festival have hailed the event as a huge success.

Hundreds of people from across the district and further afield converged on the town.

More than 40 activities were held, at a range of venues, over three days – ending yesterday.

Highlights included a lantern parade at Cliffe Castle Park, a performance of Sufi music by the renowned Qaiser Mahmood Qawwali Group, and a peace meal at Keighley Shared Church.

Festival favourite Irene Lofthouse returned for a sell-out Royal Arcadians subterranean tour of the Low Street shopping area, and the Peace Artists entertained.

Vacant units in the Airedale Shopping Centre and Royal Arcade were transformed into pop-up 'Drawing Boxes', where people could add their own artwork to walls.

Bradford Belles entertained in the town centre, and Bollywood dancer Deeba Amin gave a demonstration.

There was stand-up comedy, music and production workshops and spoken word performances, and Good Food Keighley and the Healthy Growth Initiative provided free meals at the Hanover Street hub.

The peace meal, on Friday evening, included a screening of Ruth & Safiya.

The movie follows an unlikely friendship between Ruth – an isolated pensioner in her 80s who visits her allotment daily – and Safiya, a teenage Syrian refugee struggling to adapt to a new life in Bradford.

Javed Bashir – cultural heritage and diversity lead for arts charity Keighley Creative, which organised the festival – said: "The aim of the peace meal event was to build bridges between people who might not normally have an opportunity to meet each other.

"The interfaith dinner gave people a chance to socialise, enjoy good food in the company of their neighbours and discuss ways in which they and their faith communities could build stronger connections."

The town’s MP Robbie Moore, Bradford Council leader Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe and former MP John Grogan visited the festival and chatted with organisers.

Mr Moore said: "Keighley has a rich heritage and cultural offering, and the festival was a brilliant showcase for our local talent. The team at Keighley Creative really pulled out all the stops to make this event a success."

Madeleine O’Reilly, Keighley Creative’s festival and events director, said: "It was a joyous weekend, with mixed communities coming together to celebrate arts and culture in so many different formats."

She also paid tribute to the team of volunteers which helped put on the event.