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Popular country market celebrates four decades of trading

PUBLISHED: 13:23 11 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:47 11 June 2018

Beccles' new mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw was in attendance for the celebration. Picture: Laura Mooney

Beccles' new mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw was in attendance for the celebration. Picture: Laura Mooney

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A town's community spirit was epitomised as a popular weekly market celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Beccles Country Market is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Picture: Matt SmithBeccles Country Market is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Picture: Matt Smith

Last Friday’s (June 8) edition of Beccles Country Market - held every Friday morning at Quaker Hall - marked four decades since the very first gathering in 1978.

The market offers an extensive selection of the very best in local produce, handicraft and horticulture, while it has also become a welcoming place for friends to socialise on a regular basis.

Beccles Country Market has been active for 40 years. Picture: Matt SmithBeccles Country Market has been active for 40 years. Picture: Matt Smith

Newly-appointed Beccles mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw was in attendance at the anniversary market to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“It was a real honour to go along and see how things are done at the market,” said Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw. “Reaching 40 years is a brilliant achievement.

The market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt SmithThe market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt Smith

“There’s a lot of competition for homemade products these days and a desire for people to be more connected to their food. The range of products at the market are so reasonably priced, but the producers don’t do it for the money - they simply do it for the sheer joy.”

Mandy Smith, who has been involved for the past three years and is the current market manager, expressed delight at the market having reached the impressive milestone.

The market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt SmithThe market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt Smith

“It was a really lovely day,” said Ms Smith. “Some of our traders have been here since the very start, when the event originally began as a Women’s Institute market.

“Unlike regular markets, all the producers are mixed and we don’t have our own separate tables. There’s a real community feel.

The market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt SmithThe market offers the finest in local homemade produce. Picture: Matt Smith

“People love homemade products, but they just don’t necessarily have the time to make their own. That’s what keeps people coming back to see us.”

One of those to have been trading at the market since its inception is 71-year-old Jill Pulford, for whom the market has been a staple part of her life.

The market has become a place for friends to meet and socialise on a weekly basis. Picture: Matt SmithThe market has become a place for friends to meet and socialise on a weekly basis. Picture: Matt Smith

“This market really is all about the camaraderie,” she said. “Even when a week comes around where there’s not quite so much to sell, it’s still all about the social aspect.

“Over the years you get to know everyone who takes part, although sadly we’ve lost people along the way as well.

“When it’s as busy as it has been for the anniversary, it’s absolutely brilliant. We’d really miss it if the market ever stopped.”

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