Love your local market

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While William the Conqueror was celebrating victory at the Battle of Hastings, the first market traders were setting up stalls in Bury St Edmunds.

Over the centuries the shape and size of the market has changed dramatically.

It now offers not only locally grown and produced chutneys, breads and vegetables but also a wide range of unexpected items from curry and cards, to tools and machinery.

Darren Old, chairman of the Bury branch of the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) said that while the market was constantly evolving, the ethos of the traders had remained virtually unchanged.

Darren, who comes from a family of Bury based market traders, explained that he knew nearly all of his customers by name, allowing him to tailor his products and service to them.

Peter Eaton, secretary of the NMTF, has been selling jewellery at the market for seven years.

He said: “There’s an excitement about it – a buzz.

“No stall looks the same, some people might think its higgledy piggledy but to a lot of people that’s the appeal – it’s a huge outdoor department store.”

Bury market attracts up to two million visitors a year.

Darren says that this popularity is down to the variety of products available at the market.

He said: “We have over 75 stalls and the only items duplicated are the fruit and veg.”

However despite this popularity frequent reports of the dwindling number of market traders nationally have left both the traders and the council wary about the future.

St Edmundsbury borough councillor Robert Everett, explained the importance of ensuring the market’s success continues.

He said: “Bury is a rural market town.

“A lot of people come from the rural areas into the town to buy their provisions it’s important we remain a market town.”

The traders along with St Edmundsbury Borough Council are organising events to increase foot fall and show people of all generations what’s on offer.

The first event is a love your market day on June 30.

Traders will be hanging bunting and organising a number of attractions including a cook off with market produce.

The council are also offering small start-up businesses stalls for the day with an award for the most successful trader.