Christmas market highlights small traders in medieval Great Barn in Titchfield

A MEDIEVAL tithe barn in Titchfield is hosting its first Christmas market, featuring a bar and more than 50 local traders.

By Richard Lemmer
Thursday, 10th December 2020, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th December 2020, 1:12 pm

The Great Barn in Mill Lane is hosting the market, with traders selling a variety of toys, clothes, freshly-made food, and decorations in the run up to Christmas.

The organiser of the market has been given the use of the barn free of charge, having previously run smaller events in a family-owned field over the last two years.

Whiteley resident Lisa Hedges, the founder of the market, said: ‘Some traders have done incredibly well – which is great to see.’

The Great Barn in Titchfield is hosting its first Christmas market. Picture: Richard Lemmer

One trader pleased with footfall is Swanwick resident Chris Wallis, who is providing food through his Lush Catering business and a newly opened mobile bar, selling prosecco, beer and cider from 2pm on open days.

The 56-year-old said events like this were vital for support his family at a time when other sources of revenue have closed: ‘It’s been like watching skittles fall. We usually do the festival circuit – we lost about everything we had planned across the summer.

‘It’s just me and my partner, supporting our three children. We’re a family business.’

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Lisa Hedges, the founder of the Christmas market. Picture: Richard Lemmer

Debbie Towlson, who is selling chutneys, cheeses, and chocolates as part of her Debbie’s Kitchen catering business, also stressed the importance of markets supporting local traders: ‘I haven’t had any help from the government because I haven’t been trading long enough.

‘It’s been really difficult – for the first five months after March everything was cancelled.

‘This market has made a huge difference.

‘It’s been really busy.’

Debbie Towlson, one of more than fifty traders at the Christmas market. Picture: Richard Lemmer

It comes as The News continues its #SupportLocal campaign to support local businesses as they continue to take a battering from the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures taken to tackle it.

And shoppers like Natasha Fairbrother are keen to do their part: ‘90 per cent of my shopping this year has been second-hand or local arts and crafts.

‘It's very important to support local traders at the moment.

Her mother, Jeanna Smith, 67, agreed: ‘We have been around the market twice.

‘I have only been out to the local shops and been relying on click and collect – so it’s nice to get out.’

The market runs from 9am to 6pm, Wednesdays to Sundays, up to Sunday, December 20.

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