Westbury market forced to fold after 29 years

Wiltshire Times: At the last market day are, from left, chairman Pam Begernie,  Lyn McGill, Stella Burfitt, controller Mary Kneen, Cynthia Hogbin and Meirwen Button At the last market day are, from left, chairman Pam Begernie, Lyn McGill, Stella Burfitt, controller Mary Kneen, Cynthia Hogbin and Meirwen Button

Westbury Country Market puled down its shutters for good on Friday after almost 29 years of trading in All Saints’ Church Hall.

The organisers said they were forced to close the market because they were unable to form a new committee to keep it going, while the market had also lost many trade rs and producers over the past few years.

The market was originally formed by the WI. Four of the founding members, Meirwen Button, Stella Burfitt, Lyn McGill and Cynthia Hogbin, are still involved in its running.

The market, which would have celebrated its 29th anniversary in May, eventually became a co-operative as part of Country Markets, selling homemade baked goods, preserves, fruit and vegetables, plants and handmade crafts.

Market manager Mary Kneen, 70, who has been involved with it for 12 years, said: “It was an emotional day. We have been discussing it for a while as the number of people that turn up has gone down.

“One of our regular customers said on Friday that if all the people who turned up for our last market had come before then this wouldn’t have happened. People were coming up and thanking us and I was trying to hold it together.

“We have agonised over the decision, but we are all getting older and we all have various health problems.

“It is really sad and we have a lot of regular customers who said they are going to miss us.

“They always knew that they were getting freshly made baked goods and produce without all the additives.”

As well as the difficulties forming a new committee, Mrs Kneen said that the arrival of more supermarkets in the town, as well as the loss of free parking for an hour in the town, also contributed to the closure.

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