MORE than 2,000 people descended on Manningtree in the most environmentally friendly way they could for a special festival.

The Manningtree Earth Festival took place on Sunday in the town centre and included a programme of high-profile speakers covering climate change and biodiversity.

The event saw a host of bands take the stage and more than 40 stalls featuring businesses, charities and community groups.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Namaste - A yoga class was held at the festivalNamaste - A yoga class was held at the festival

Helen Whitehead, of Mermaids Against Sewage, a wild swimmer group campaigning for clean water in the Manningtree area, attended the festival.

She said: “It was fantastic. I was there with my two girls from midday to 7pm and there were things to amuse them the entire time - we loved it."

The Earth festival was organised by volunteers who hoped to create an event which would inspire the sort of action needed to make a difference.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Water safety - Harwich RNLI held a stall to teach residents about safety in the water.Water safety - Harwich RNLI held a stall to teach residents about safety in the water.

Caroline Hall, festival organiser, said: “We now have less than three years to turn around global warming to ensure it doesn't reach the irreversible tipping point of 1.5C.

“Following current policy, Earth is on track for 2.75C of warming by 2100.

"It is a figure which will see catastrophic consequences not only for the poor around the world but for us all, including here in Manningtree.

“To avoid this, we all need to start reducing our personal carbon footprint straight away.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Competition - Residents take part in the recycling gameCompetition - Residents take part in the recycling game

Down at Manningtree Beach there was marine life from the river in tanks for people to see and identify and spot invasive species, while there was also the Blue Pass Scheme for teaching sailing.

At the other end of town there was the recycling challenge to get as many items as possible into the correct recycling bins.

Councillors Carlo and Val Guglielmi took part as well as Manningtree mayor Michelle Taylor.

Chris and Jude Gibson, activity leaders, said: “We came by train from Wivenhoe to lead our nature walks - the festival is a great initiative and we were very glad to do our little bit to help.”