A large-scale public Diwali event in Southampton later this month will showcase Indian culture and celebrate the Festival of Light. 

The Mela, thought to be the first public Diwali festival on the South Coast, will raise funds to help 11-year-old Ansh Agrawala who was born with cerebral palsy.

Hundreds are expected to enjoy the event, at Oasis Academy in Lordshill on Sunday October 15, which will include a fashion show of 100 years of Indian fashion, a Ramleela play which tells the story of Diwali, a bazaar selling crafts and products and food stalls.

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There will also be a raffle with top prizes of a Nintendo Switch and gold jewellery.

The Diwali Mela, organised by Rajan and Meenakshi Jolly and Sarika Khurana, will run from noon to 6.30pm, entrance is free and all are welcome.

"We’re hoping to introduce Indian culture to the wider community and invite everyone to celebrate Diwali with us," Rajan said.

"We celebrate every year in temples and at home, but we believe this is the first time there has been a large-scale Diwali celebration on the South Coast and we hope as many people as possible will come and celebrate with us."

Southampton schoolboy Ansh had surgery in 2020 at Great Ormond Street Hospital, but needs ongoing specialised physiotherapy to improve his movement at a cost to his family of around £1,000 per month.

Dad Nikhil told the Daily Echo: "Ansh’s operation was a great success and he has come a long way – he no longer needs to use his wheelchair at all, and now walks with a frame or sticks.

"He’s able to be much more independent now – he’s started secondary school and loves horse-riding and playing FIFA – he’s also a huge fan of the Lionesses.

"He has physiotherapy almost every day and there is also always equipment to buy!

"We’re extremely grateful to our local community for all the support they’ve given."

Charity Tree of Hope is supporting the family in their fundraising efforts. Tree of Hope helps families to fundraise for children’s operations, therapies and equipment that are unobtainable via the NHS and provides access to a registered charity providing more effective and efficient ways of fundraising.