Top award for town market

Eight years after The Evening Star led a campaign to save it from closure, Ipswich's vibrant market has been named as the best of its kind in the country.

IPSWICH: Eight years after The Evening Star led a campaign to save it from closure, Ipswich's vibrant market has been named as the best of its kind in the country.

A jewel in the town's crown, the Cornhill market, which attracts shoppers from all over the area, has been given the official seal of approval - Britain's best small market.

It's a big step forward for the stallholders who once feared they would lose their livelihoods.

Market manager Warren O'Connell said: “I am chuffed to bits.

“We came second last year and to win this year is great. It is good for the town.”

Mike Young, who has been running the fish stall for 28 years, said: “It's terrific - really good news. If it hadn't been for the campaign led by the Evening Star we wouldn't be here now.

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“The centre of town is the best place for a market and people really love it - we have many regular customers and some of them come from as far as Norwich.”

Families were out in force on Saturday despite the cold - enjoying the range of stalls, selling everything from brightly-coloured socks to hot food, meat to fresh fruit and veg, magazines to fish and bread.

Steve Edwards had visited the market before Christmas and brought his wife Wendy, and sons Jake, 15, and George, 13, from Halstead, to enjoy it.

“I hadn't been to Ipswich before and it's really nice - the market's got a good atmosphere and there is a good range of stalls,” said Mrs Edwards.

Matthew and Shari Spatcher, who joined the Edwards for the visit, were thrilled with bargains they picked up.

“It only took us 30 minutes to get here. It's the first time we have been and we will definitely be back - probably next pay day!” said Mr Spatcher.

Tiffany Bruen, of Ipswich, said: “I think it's a really good market - I get my fruit and veg here and love the bag stall - but it could be more extensive. It's nice having it in centre of town.”

Markets minister Rosie Winterton, said: “The best markets like Ipswich can play a crucial role in community life and the local economy.

“They can draw shoppers to the area, give farmers an outlet for their produce and are a fantastic testing ground for budding entrepreneurs.”

The National Association of British Market Authorities awards also recognised Bury St Edmunds's Christmas Fayre as the best speciality market in the country.

What do you think of Ipswich market? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk