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Elsenham community rallies to stage pop-up market after village fete is cancelled for second summer in succession

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A formidable community effort in Elsenham has combined to create a pop-up market in the village this Saturday (June 26) following cancellation of its fete for the second year in a row.

Organisers pulled the plug on the fete last week due to the pandemic, prompting village resident and small business owner Victoria Farrall to come up with an alternative plan.

Her idea to invite business owners to set up stalls outside their own homes in the village selling the stock they had amassed for the fete immediately took off.

Elsenham (48463651)
Elsenham (48463651)

In less than a week, 24 traders had stepped forward to take part, with Elsenham's post office, pub, café, hairdressers, community groups and the fete committee all offering their support.

The pop-up market will run from 1pm to 4pm – the time originally earmarked for the fete – with a map published online and available to pick up from businesses in Elsenham which will guide visitors around the village to discover the diverse range of gifts, crafts and products produced on their own doorstep.

Mother-of-three Victoria, who runs her own flower-growing business and sells jam jar posies, described the response as "amazing".

"We're very lucky that we live in an incredibly supportive village. I just thought 'We all have own our businesses and our own houses, we can make it Covid-safe for everyone'. The stallholders were ready to go with all their stock they had for the fete so there was no reason why we couldn't do it," she said.

"The whole village has really got behind this, from the fete committee to the gardening club, the pub, café and fish and chip shop. The post office is going to stay open longer so people can get cash out. The response has been fantastic.

"It's been a tough year for small business, especially with the disappearance of craft markets, so it was important to think of a way as a village to support that aspect of our community.

"We've had an amazing response. In every direction people have been supportive and I just thought that we had to do this."

Stalls will be selling everything from hand-made cordials, jewellery and fragrances to plastic-free hampers and gifts, hand-crafted dog collars, vintage clothes, children's books, balloons, flowers and plants.

Victoria is partnering up with a florist outside her Station Road home, where she has enough space for two stalls, while the Scouts will be running a cake and refreshments stall to raise funds for Henham and Elsenham primary schools and the village hall.

There will be a collection point for second-hand bras to raise money for St Clare Hospice.

Victoria added: "While I have got the ball rolling, it is a team effort. Ann Fegan, the owner of Options Hair, has been instrumental in helping and giving me moral support, Laura and Brian Proctor have organised the map and Elaine Terry, from the fete committee, and lots of village stalwarts have been very supportive."

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