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Essex: Unwrapping a host of Christmas events

13:00 01 December 2012

Colchester Shoppers on Eld Lane.

Colchester Shoppers on Eld Lane.

Archant

A HOST of festive events are being held across north Essex in a bid to boost trade for local retailers.

Manningtree

ORGANISERS of Manningtree’s Magical Christmas Fair are promising “the best Christmas event in Essex.”

Local businesses and residents have pulled together for this year’s festive extravaganza, which will transform England’s smallest town into a winter wonderland.

Around 50 stalls will be set up in the high street on December 7, selling crafts and cuisines from around the world.

Chair of Manningtree District Business Chamber Jenine Collier and owner of J&M Travel said: “It will be the biggest and best Christmas event in Essex.

“Shopping locally is phenomenally important. Places like Manningtree will only survive if people continue to use the shops.”

Traders are calling on shoppers to dig deep this winter and spend some of their Christmas cash in their local town centre.

In Dovercourt, shop owners are hoping the forthcoming Christmas lights turn-on event will showcase the town.

In the lead-up to the event, the Harwich and Dovercourt Partnership delivered almost 2,000 tickets to local primary school children to enter a competition to win the chance to turn on the lights on December 8.

The tickets also contain information for parents about the event.

On the night there will be a number of craft stalls and a hog roast set-up in the main high street.

Shops will also be staying open later than usual, with Father Christmas in his grotto to meet children.

Chair of the Harwich and Dovercourt Partnership Lesley Pollard said: “The tickets are a good way to get the information out there about the event to parents so they can see what’s on offer on the night.

“The event is a way of showcasing the town as people can forget what’s on their doorstep.

“Shopping locally is hugely important for our shops.

“I would love everyone to buy locally all the time, but I know that can’t always happen.

“However, just one or two trips down to see what’s here would make a difference.

“Everyone in the shops here is working so hard and they appreciate everyone’s custom.”

The switch-on event kicks off at 6pm.

A new voluntary group which has formed in Clacton is hoping to give traders a helping hand this month with their Christmas lights turn-on.

The Clacton Town Partnership (CTP) replaced the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism earlier this year and has been working hard to get as many people involved as possible to make the town something everyone can be proud of.

Its members’ first priority is to raise enough funds to put up and operate the Christmas lights on December 8.

Treasurer Tricia Leggett said: “We really want people to spend their money in the town.

“So many shops are closing down, we really need shoppers to help our independent retailers.

“We’re hoping the lights turn-on event will give the town a boost. We’ve raised £1,300 so far but need at least £2,000 to turn on some of the lights, which will help get local people into the town centre.”

Caroline Shearer, the mother of Clacton teenager Jay Whiston, who was stabbed to death, will be turning on the lights at the event next week.Donations can be made at Natwest Bank using account No. 23357614, sort code 60-05-33.

Just a few miles away in Frinton, traders in the Triangle Shopping Centre are hoping for a healthy day’s business when their lights go on at noon today.

Organised and funded by the Triangle Traders Association in partnership with the East of England Co-op, the centre has been decked out with a Christmas tree, decorations and lights to create a winter wonderland for shoppers.

Andrew Dawes, Retail Liaison Controller for the East of England Co-operative said: “The Christmas light switch-on marks the start of the busy shopping season and an important time for all the traders in the centre.”

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