FROM Tinkerbell to the Fairy Godmother, they have long been resigned to the realm of children’s fiction.

But one Hampshire woman believes in fairies and she is determined to bring a bit of sparkle to people across the county.

Holly Norman, who loves dressing up in her wings and magic wand, has organised a New Forest Fairy Festival this weekend in a bid to change the public’s perception of the mystical creatures and she is expecting thousands of people dressed as fairies and elves.

“Of course I believe in fairies.

"They are all around, they are in the ley of the hill and you can hear their little fairy bells.”

Holly, who runs the Coven of Witches shop in Burley with her mum Pauline and dad Alan, explains her fascination with fairies stems from her childhood.

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But today aged, 29, her belief is just as strong – even though she has never seen one.

And just like J.M Barrie who wrote in his famous novel, Peter Pan: “Every time you say you don’t believe in fairies, a fairy dies,” Holly thinks everyone should open their mind to the creatures.

“A fairy is like a little light that you might see behind a tree,” explains Holly who says she is happiest nurturing her New Forest ponies she shows regularly.

“They are all around, people just don’t see that. It’s your imagination, it’s what you believe in, so it is an education for people.

“People don’t believe because they can’t see it but it’s like any religion, because you can’t see it, some people don’t believe.

"I think you have to follow your heart and my heart tells me I have to follow a path that’s back to nature.”

For Holly the idea of a fairy festival in the New Forest came while she was sorting stock in the shop her family has owned for the last decade.

“Burley is very well known for witchcraft, but I wanted to do something a bit lighter. I was looking in the shop and we have models of fairies. I looked at one and thought ‘right I’m going to do a fairy festival.’

“I knew I wanted to do something new and uplifting to bring local communities together and give kids the opportunity to see a different way of life and do something they may not do in their everyday lives.

“I love dressing as a fairy. Some people think ‘that’s different’ but it makes me happy. I don’t let negativity really affect me and try not to let people get me down.”

The festival launched last year and attracted more than 4,000 children and adults to the site in Burley over the weekend.

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Last year's New Forest Fairy Festival

This year Holly hopes the event is bigger and better with more than 70 exhibitors and acts.

Highlights include appearances from famous artists Josephine Wall and Paul Kidby, illustrator to Terry Pratchett, international medium Greg Smith and Suzanne Howell, interactive walkarounds from Gypsey Pyksy and puppet shows from Dragons of Wye-ten.

There will also be a fancy dress competition, a healing area offering palmistry, yoga and meditation, workshops of belly dancing, hula hooping and fairy talks, live music as well as stalls selling handcrafted items.

“It’s really buzzy. A lot of people dress up and it’s just a really uplifting weekend. The children are really taken aback with it.

“People can just come and be themselves.

“It works every way you would think it would work.

“That’s what makes me feel happy that I can produce a festival that gives people that warmth and energy to be positive about their lives.

“Everyone is welcome along to the festival whether they believe in fairies or not, but I think people should open their minds to it, rather than turn it away without investigating.

Holly, adds: “People who read this and think ‘I’m not going to that’ because it’s full of fairies, come along because there really is something for everyone.”

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