Christmas market plans come together in busy time for Rotary
Three years ago, Berwick Rotary Club stepped in at the eleventh hour to ensure the town's annual Christmas market went ahead.
Organising such an event is not without its hard work and headaches but the positives far outweigh the negatives, bringing hundreds of visitors into the town and providing a valuable economic boost for traders and stallholders.
“This year, we’re heading for 50 stalls on the high street with more in the town hall so we hope it will be a good event,” said club press officer Bryon Longbone.
“One of the things we’ve tried to focus on this year is getting a bigger food offer, bringing in as many local and regional producers as we can.
“We hope lots of local residents and visitors will come along and enjoy the day.”
It is a fine effort by a club, on top of its other Christmas commitments in the town, such as putting up the festive lights on the Royal Tweed Bridge and Scotsgate arch and the enormous Christmas tree on Marygate, provided courtesy of Ellemford Estates.
“There’s a lot of organising goes into that and we couldn’t do it without the assistance of several local farmers and their equipment,” said Bryon.
“There was a group of Rotarians out at 5am putting the bridge lights up and getting the tree in place. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t too bad this year but it can be!”
Intermittent problems with the bridge lights have been a historic issue which is outwith the Rotary Club’s control.
Strong winds also mean many of the lights have to be replaced every year, costing the club in the region of £6,000.
“It’s a lot of money and we try to raise funds throughout the year,” said Bryon.
A raffle at Morrisons is a crucial fund-raiser, while events such as the Party on the Parade run in conjunction with Bloodwise, and a charity golf competition at Goswick all help.
The club also helps out internationally by funding shelter boxes for disaster-hit parts of the world, while close to home it has helped to fund a mental health counselling service and organising the annual Spirit of Sport event for disabled people.
Bryon said: “We’re only a small club with a membership in the mid-40s and we just keep plugging away as far as we can. Every little bit we can do helps.
“Some of our members have physical skills, some have great mental ability and others have been there and done it and have knowledge they can pass on.”
The club meets every Tuesday at the Castle Hotel. New members would be welcomed. If interested, email Bryon@longbone.co.uk
The Christmas market organised by Berwick Rotary Club is on Sunday, December 9, from 11am to 4pm.
Around 50 stalls selling Christmas gifts and seasonal produce are expected to line Marygate, with more in the town hall where Santa will be waiting to greet children. Refreshments will also be on offer and there will be entertainment.