Stowmarket festive shopping in doubt

LATE night shopping in Stowmarket is in jeopardy.The future of its festive late night shopping event – popular with both families and charities trying to raise funds through their street stalls – could die because of declining support from traders.

LATE night shopping in Stowmarket is in jeopardy.

The future of its festive late night shopping event – popular with both families and charities trying to raise funds through their street stalls – could die because of declining support from traders.

As a result, Stowmarket Chamber of Commerce has decided not to organise the event this year.

The chamber argues that without support from the majority of shops the evening will not be a real success and a gradual decline in support has meant the annual event has become a shadow of its former self.


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The late night town centre shopping includes shops staying open late for one evening in December, charity stalls, children's entertainment, a musical roundabout, music, and closing the street to traffic.

Richard Wallis, chairman of the chamber, said: "We have organised it for three years, but other shops need to get involved and give more support. The chamber will not be doing it this year.''

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Town and mid Suffolk district councillor Marilyn Finbow, a chamber member who has helped organise it in previous years, said: "The few people who organise it simply do not have the time, it always falls to the same people and we are all busy at Christmas.

"It's a bit upsetting, it has been held in the town for a number of years and for the charities it is a chance to raise some money through their stalls.

"It would be shame, it's sad, but a lot does have to go in to it behind the scenes to make it happen from licenses from Mid Suffolk for the charity stalls to arranging for the street to be closed.''

But Mrs Finbow said she has heard that some retailers in the town centre may be trying to organise a late night shopping event themselves.

Now a meeting of the chamber is being held later this month to see if anyone else can be found to come forward and organise the evening.

The Chamber of Commerce will meet on November 26 in a bid to save the late night shopping event.

The town's Christmas lights are still going up as planned and the Christmas tree light switch on, with Father Christmas making an appearance for the children, is being held at 4.30pm on November 22.

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