A CAMPAIGN urging shoppers to support retailers in Suffolk and Essex is gathering pace with Christmas on the horizon.

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The Shop Local initiative aims to provide a timely boost for the region’s economy in the countdown to the festive season.

Suffolk local food campaigner Lady Caroline Cranbrook has backed the East Anglian Daily Times campaign.

She said: “Suffolk is one of the most important food producing areas in England and we are lucky to live here.

“There’s a huge range of meats with beef, lamb, pork and chicken and wonderful vegetables as well as an incredible range of small food producers.

“Shopping locally has many advantages. There’s an amazing choice of fresh, high-quality food and drink at affordable prices.

“Fresh produce is cheaper than the supermarkets. You know where it comes from and by buying locally we support our local economy.

“Farm shops, farmers markets, butchers, delis and the East of England Co-op all provide us with a wonderful choice of local food. If you support your local food shops, you won’t regret it.” Lady Cranbrook said Christmas is a vitally important period for local independent retailers with many people stocking up on special treats.

She added: “Christmas really is the highlight of the year with people buying special food to celebrate. “We are very lucky to have a huge number of local shops and independent stores as well as farm shops and farmers markets.”

East Anglian Daily Times editor Terry Hunt said: “The Christmas shopping period is absolutely crucial for our town centres and the retailers operating within them.

“It is obviously the busiest time of the year and many traders will be looking for a seasonal boost after what has been a particularly difficult year.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that this Christmas could represent a make or break few weeks for some of our local businesses.

“So, it’s more important than ever that we spend our Christmas cash in our local shops.”

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