It was a record year at Morpeth Fair Day as the sun shone on yet another successful event.
Despite the lack of the ever-popular parade and car show this year due to flood alleviation works in High Stanners, visitors still flocked in their thousands.
The park and ride scheme saw record numbers taking advantage of the service, while the morning fun run attracted its highest ever number of entries, with more than 100 young competitors taking part.
Crowds gathered around the main stage throughout the day to watch a variety of entertainment, including martial art displays, hula hoop sessions and music, and the fairground, which offered free tickets for young visitors from Chernobyl, appeared busier than ever.
Charity stalls also reported a roaring trade.
Fair Day is the biggest fund-raiser of the year for the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade and proceeds go towards Christmas lights and Northumbria In Bloom displays, as well as other events.
This year’s main sponsor was Cookswell Garage in Pegswood, with support also provided by Specsavers, Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, Northumberland College, Josie Donaldson, Morpeth Town Council and The Solar Energy Centre.
Organising committee Chairman Tony Osborne said: “Fair Day went very well.
“We were very lucky with the weather because there were a few times when heavy black clouds came over, but they didn’t last long, we didn’t get any rain, they quickly blew over and the sun came out again.
“Obviously, it was disappointing not to be able to use the Stanners, which meant there couldn’t be a parade or car show, but the work is just about finished there so it should be available for next year and I’m sure the parade will return.
“We still had good crowds throughout the day. It seemed to be as busy as it has ever been and we found that with the weather being so good first thing in the morning, the crowds arrived earlier than ever. It meant it was more difficult to marshal the fun run, but it all went off perfectly.”
Mr Osborne is now stepping aside as Chairman after 21 years’ service in the role.
He said: “I think I have served my time. I’m still going to be involved in the committee, but I’ll be handing over the chairmanship to somebody else.
“I have had some great times over the years, but it is getting tougher. The whole idea of the fair was to raise money for the chamber to spend on Christmas lights, bloom and other projects to bring people into the town, but it is getting harder to raise money and there seems to be more and more red tape.
“Hopefully, when someone else takes over they will have lots of new ideas and enthusiasm and look to try some new initiatives.”
He added: “The best thing about it is the sense of achievement you get when you look out from the stage and see the thousands and thousands of people in the town who all seem to be enjoying themselves.
“It is quite a good feeling to think that such a small committee can organise such a massive event.”
Anybody is welcome to volunteer for the committee and chairmanship, whether a member of the chamber or not. They do not even have to be a trader in the town.
Mr Osborne said: “There are five or six people on the organising committee who aren’t members of the chamber or traders. They are just local people who want to be involved. Anybody can come forward to help.”
By Anna Smith Chief Reporter
Pictures by Jane Coltman.