DCSIMG

Death knell for Dickensian festive market

Crowds fill Marygate as the street is closed for the annual Dickensian Market

Crowds fill Marygate as the street is closed for the annual Dickensian Market

major doubts hang over the future of Berwick’s Dickensian Market after the group that has organised it for the past five years was formally disbanded.

A decision was taken to fold Berwick Events Group at its AGM last Tuesday when no new committee members stepped forward.

The founding committee, spearheaded by Viv Robson and Yvonne Balfour, had previously indicated they were standing down.

Days earlier, several other members of the group had also tendered their resignations.

It effectively means the Dickensian Market, which attracts thousands of visitors into the town every December and provides a vital income for local producers and shopkeepers, will not be held unless new organisers are found.

Viv said: “We’re absolutely devastated it has come to this having put so much work into the event over the past few years.”

Yvonne added: “Its loss will have a big impact on the Christmas trade. It’s a very important event for shops and stallholders and gives people something to look forward to in December.”

If no-one comes forward by the end of this month, the funds still held by Berwick Events Group will be split equally between Spittal Improvement Trust, Tweedmouth Feast and the Greenses.

Yvonne said: “It’s very sad but we’ve been trying to get new people on board for the last 18 months and no-one is willing to help out.

“If that situation changes, we’d love the event to continue and would do what we could to help but at this moment it looks like this is the end for the Dickensian Market.”

The event costs around £8,500 a year to stage. Fundraising events and car boot sales, along with grant funding, help to meet the target.

The news dismayed members of Berwick Town Council’s events committee when they were informed of the decision on Monday.

Chairman, Coun Jennifer Waterhouse, said: “The group have done an amazing job in getting the Dickensian Market to where it was and I think it’s really sad that we’re going to lose it.”

Coun Hazel Bettison added: “People often moan that nothing happens in Berwick but unfortunately they’re not willing to do anything about it themselves.

“There’s been a lot of hard work and effort that has gone into building the Dickensian Market up.

“All the groundwork is in place should someone want to take it on but maybe it’s one of those things where people don’t realise how much they miss it until it’s not there any more.”

Coun Jim Smith said: “It would be a great pity if the Dickensian Market is dropped because it has been successful but it’s often the way that volunteers find it difficult to get others to take over.”

If anyone wants to get involved, they can get in touch with Yvonne on 01289 306767 or email viv@reiverstryst.co.uk.

 

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