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Shrewsbury furniture stores bosses hail first charity market a huge success
13 Dec 2016
by Kirsty Smallman

The first Charity Christmas Market to be held at a county furniture store has been hailed as a success and will become an annual event.

The two-day event hosted solely for charitable organisations was held at Alan Ward in Shrewsbury.

A total of 20 charities set up their stands and sold their Christmas gifts and cards or offered an activity for the children during the event, whilst performers entertained shoppers.

It was the first event of its kind to held in the Area 95 space which was formerly used as a warehouse at the store on Ennerdale Road, Harlescott.

Store manager Andrea Cutler said there was a fantastic festive atmosphere and the children who performed really made the event something special.

The choir and the ukulele band from St Mary’s Primary School in Shawbury both performed two sets on the first day, whilst author Lorna McCann from Childs Ercall, read her new book Wendy and The Biscuit Tree and sold signed copies to raise funds for Severn Hospice in memory of her late mum.

On the second day of the event children from Oakmeadow Primary School in Bayston Hill sang and talented youngsters from the Alisha-Jayne Dance Academy in Wem performed a number of routines for the audience.

Beaumaris Singers of Newport concluded the event with nearly an hour of festive songs. The event was held on December 3rd and 4th.

Refreshments were served throughout the weekend at the pop-up cafe stand run by staff from The Little Cafe which is a permanent cafe on the first floor of the store.

Charities included Shropshire Mind, Shropshire RCC, Age UK, German Shepherd Rescue, Lingen Davies Cancer Fund, North Shrewsbury Friendly Neighbour Scheme, Parkinsons UK, Omega, The Movement Centre with hoopla sponsored by Lanyon Bowdler, Denise McGowan from Loggerhead Turtle Conservation, Severn Hospice, Shropshire Disability Network, Headway Shropshire, The Harry Johnson Trust, Little Rascals Foundation, Staffordshire and Shropshire Blood Bikes and YHA Breaks for Kids.

Balloonatics from Oswestry and Big Little Things based at Apley Farm sold their products to raise funds for the Lingen Davies Appeal.

Mrs Cutler said the feedback had been very good and they hoped to now make it an annual event.

The atmosphere at our first Charity Christmas Market was excellent – the children who gave up their time to sing or perform throughout the weekend were exceptional.

One dancer from the Alisha-Jayne Dance Academy was just four years old and danced all by herself in front of everyone.

The charities all seemed to enjoy the event and we hope it helped boost their funds this year,” she said.

We hope this is the start of a programme of events to be held in the space and we will be welcoming the charities back to give us their feedback in preparation for next year.

The performers were so popular we hope to have a different school or group performing each hour next year.

On behalf of everyone at Alan Ward I would like to thank our customers for supporting the event, the charities for taking the free stands and the performers for giving up their time at such a busy time of year.”

Denise McGowan, who had a stand for children to make Christmas decorations said: “We had a fabulous time promoting our new fundraising venture to support the conservation of the Loggerhead Turtles on Kefalonia.

Although not a local project we are involving local people to go out and do hands on volunteering.

We made some valuable contacts for future charitable and business collaborations along with meeting some wonderful members of the public. We loved being part of the weekend and would definitely come back.”

Author Lorna McCann from Newport with children from St Mary's Primary School in Shawbury.

Author Lorna McCann from Newport with children from St Mary’s Primary School in Shawbury.