BOLTON College played host to a day of celebration of Africa.

Hundreds of spectators saw dancing, fashion shows, workshops, music performances and poetry readings ahead of Africa Day on Sunday, which commemorates the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity.

Stalls representing 16 African countries including Uganda, Malawi, Guinea and Somalia filled the college’s floors, featuring traditional handmade jewellery, clothes, food, crafts and Fairtrade goods.

As well as celebrations and entertainment, the event also stopped for people to say a prayer for the 200 missing Nigerian schoolgirls who were seized by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram last month.

The event was organised by English student Maria Oprea, the founder member of The Smile of Hope — a project that aims to raise awareness and promote integration of cultures and heritage in Bolton.

She said: “We need something like this for African people to remember our home.

“We want to share our celebrations with other cultures to show them where we come from.

“Some of the clothes from the fashion shows have been made by students at the college. So many people have helped to make today a success. I’m so happy how well it has gone and I would like to thank everyone who has got involved.”

Principal at the college Marie Gilluley said: “We want to be as inclusive as we can at the college and celebrate the diversity of all culture, including Africa.

“Bolton has a thriving African culture and we help the students with language skills and help them into employment.

“We celebrate Black History Month but this is the first year that an event like this has been put on at the college. I now hope that we can recreate this each year.”