A veteran stall holder says a national award received by Haverhill market shows just how much it has improved in recent years.
The market won the Best Love Your Local Market Event category at the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) Great British Market Awards 2015 last Friday (30)
Stockton High Street Market was a joint winner of the award, which went to Haverhill specifically for the series of Saturday youth markets and a car show staged there last year by St Edmundbury Borough Council, which is responsible for managing the market.
The award was given out by soap opera star Sean Wilson, better known as Martin Platt in Coronation Street during NABMA’s annual conference and awards in Birmingham.
Paul Firman, who runs Paul Firman’s Quality Fruit and Veg, received the award on behalf of Haverhill market on Saturday.
He said: “I’ve been here 28 years and we have never won an award before. I can’t recall us ever winning anything.
“When you look at it, it’s quite an award.
“People might snipe at it (the market) but they don’t know what it was like a few years ago.”
Mr Firman, who is also a town councillor in Haverhill, was referring to the Saturday market only having four stalls until it moved on to the High Street from Peas Market about 20 years ago.
The current Saturday market now has much more to offer than it did just a few years ago and the contribution in the past two years by current market manager Steve Hopkins, has been central to that.
Mr Firman said: “Since Steve Hopkins has been here we’ve had no end of new stalls. There’s been a big improvement.”
He also praised the borough council for keeping the rents ‘pretty static’ for four or five years.
Cllr Alaric Pugh, St Edmundsbury Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “It is great to achievement for our work with the Haverhill market traders, to receive this national recognition.
Each of these stalls is a small business and St Edmundsbury is always keen to look for new ways to support the economic growth of the market and of small businesses in general, and to encourage residents living in and around the town to shop locally, where possible.
“The youth market encouraged young entrepreneurs to try their hand at being a market trader.
“We had good support from the schools in the town while the stalls were very popular with the local community. The motor show meanwhile brought a whole mix of new customers to our stalls.
“We have some wonderful market traders in Haverhill and we very much look forward to building on this national success and working with the stall holders on initiatives to further promote the market’s growth.”