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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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All the festive fun of the Victorian fayre at Keswick

Around 3,000 people flocked to Keswick’s Victorian fayre.

Keswick fair photo
Pat Felton, Sarah Platt, Pauline Hardie and Gilda Wells on the Dewode stall

The event, which featured a Santa parade and part of the herd from Cairngorm Reindeer, included 30 charity stalls raising money for everything from local schools to health charities.

Fairground rides and an inflatable gingerbread house provided fun for little ones, while everyone was entertained by a packed programme of entertainment throughout the day.

Highlights included the reindeer, on display at the bottom end of the town centre, and Santa in his sleigh, a touring nativity with live sheep and a Shetland pony in Packhorse Court.

There was also a performance by the Committed 2 Rock Choir on the main stage in Market Square.

Keswick Street Theatre Players performed Happy Christmas Germany, a play written by town crier Bob Bryden and telling the story of two families – one English and one German – spending Christmas together in 1913 , just before the outbreak of World War One.

Roger Purkiss, treasurer of the fayre, said that he was disappointed by the lack of support from some national chains which have outlets in the town, who did not support the event. He said the exception were Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Pitlochry, Country Trader and Rohan.

However, he was pleased, with the turnout and the popularity of the charity stalls, which were fully booked with some charities unable to secure places.

Sponsors of the event included Walkingshaw of Lillyhall VW and Kia, Lamont Pridmore Accountants and Booths.

Keswick and Bassenthwaite Rotary clubs and Keswick Lions Club supported it, along with a selection of local businesses.

Mr Purkiss said: “The committee’s been a bit depleted this year and we have struggled to get it together and get support, but on the day there’s been as big a crowd as we have every had – if not bigger.

“We don’t have any stalls that are remotely commercial. It’s all about the charities.”

Among those raising money and joining in the fun with a charity stall was Keswick Rotary Club, which ran a human fruit machine, with three people each picking a random fruit from a basket, and a tombola.

David Latimer, a member of the club, said: “It’s an opportunity for community celebration and it’s a good chance for worthwhile causes to raise a bit of money while having fun.”

Keswick Out Of School Club also had a stall.

Debbie Edgington, fundraising co-ordinator, said: “We’re here to raise funds for the club and to raise awareness for it. It’s a real community event.”

Jennifer Scott, fundraising officer for the Lake District Calvert Trust, which had a stall, said: “It’s nice to get the local people involved with what we do at the centre just outside Keswick. It’s got a buzz today.”

Among those attending was David Todhunter, 37, of Rowrah, who was there with his wife Lisa and daughters Amelia, six, and Isabelle, three.

He said: “It’s brilliant. We brought the kids to see Father Christmas and the reindeer. It’s a good day out and it makes us feel Christmassy.”

The Mayor of Keswick, Martin Pugmire, said: “It’s gone wonderfully well. Having good weather helps a lot. We have had a big crowd and people have been very happy. I was very impressed by the stalls.”

Entertainment in the town centre ended with carols led by the choir.

The event was rounded off with an Advent prayer service at the Parish Church of Keswick St John.

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