Praise and plaudits all the way for Fair Day

TRADERS have given a big thumbs up to the “slick” Morpeth Fair Day.

Thousands of visitors flocked to the fair earlier this month to enjoy a host of stalls, competitions, entertainment and activities, as well as the grand parade.

Now the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade, which organises the event, has confirmed its success, saying only positive comments have been received and profits are likely to be in the region of £6,000 to £7,000.

Fair Day Committee Chairman Tony Osborne told the group’s monthly meeting last week that initially there had been concerns about whether the event would go ahead as charges would be levied for the first time by Northumberland County Council for services such as road closures, barriers, staff time and the clean-up.

However, the authority was keen for the fair to go ahead and the fees were kept to a minimum, while Benfield Motors sponsored the event for the fourth year running.

On the day, the weather held out, volunteers turned out in force to help manage it, record numbers entered the fun run and fancy dress, and the Northumberland producers’ market was a popular new addition.

Mr Osborne said: “We decided to stick with the tried and tested formula and organise the fair in the same way as previous years with one addition, Jimmy Bell the Lamb Man organised a Northumberland producers’ market to run alongside the continental market.

“He is to be congratulated for putting together an excellent addition to the fair.

“The stalls in Oldgate helped to create a continuation of the fair beyond the Market Place and Bridge Street to the attractions in High Stanners.

“The new stalls did very well and helped to enhance business in the Stanners earlier in the day.

“We hope we can run this again for future years.”

He added: “I’m very proud of the fair and it is the envy of many towns and organisations near and far.

“It really is one of the top annual events in the North East for the number of events and the variety of attractions and entertainment we provide.”

Thanks were given to Mr Osborne’s wife Julie, who took on administration duties for the fair for the first time and created a step by step guide to its organisation for others to follow in the future.

Chamber Chairman John Beynon said: “I don’t think this fair would have been as well organised without her input.

“We have never had a file we could go back to before and if somebody else takes over they will be able to run it from that. It has been done professionally for the first time.”

Mr Beynon said all profits from the fair will be re-invested in the town.

“There are usually one or two people who criticise the fair, but this year it has all been praise.

“For the first time in years the people of Morpeth recognised that the Chamber of Trade organised the fair and that all the money raised goes back into the town,” he said.

“It goes into the Christmas lights and Northumbria In Bloom and is spent back in Morpeth.”

Member Charles Sellers praised the organisation of the event as among the best he has seen anywhere.

“I came down to the fair for the first time in 24 years. I have been involved in large organisations and I would say that the organisation of Fair Day wasn’t just professional, it was slick,” he said.

“I don’t know how many stalls and facilities were there, but I was highly impressed with it.

“It was a brilliant job.”

The chamber made a presentation to Mr Osborne to recognise both his and his wife’s work.