Tens of thousands attend the Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds

The packed Bury St Edmunds annual Christmas Fayre at the weekend. Event organiser Sharon Fairweather

The packed Bury St Edmunds annual Christmas Fayre at the weekend. Event organiser Sharon Fairweather with evidence team police officers PC Rob Le Mare and Sgt Winston Freeman. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Bury St Edmunds will begin the process of getting back to normal tomorrow after four days of the Christmas Fayre have seen tens of thousands of people converge on the town for the annual event.

The St Edmundsbury Cathedral St Celia Juniors entertain.
Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The St Edmundsbury Cathedral St Celia Juniors entertain. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

The clear up operation is underway tonight with the remnants left in the Abbey Gardens to be dealt with tomorrow morning.

But it has been another fantastic event for visitors and traders alike ... some who reported one of the best year’s of the fayre with record takings.

And for the senior police officer heading up the event it has been a great success with additional officers, including some armed and with police dogs, coming in to monitor the fayre.

Ch Insp David Giles said: “It’s gone really well from our point of view and people have been supportive to the officers.

Stalls in the Abbey Gardens attracted huge numbers of visitors. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Stalls in the Abbey Gardens attracted huge numbers of visitors. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant


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“The question posed is could Bury St Edmunds become a target of terrorism and the answer is yes so we had to repond accordingly and the operation was a contingency for public reassurance.

“It has been cost effective as well as officers have swapped their weekend days off and will be taking them another time.”

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He said the force had to be guided by the national threat and to police the event accordingly and that they would be ready to carry out a similar operation if required for next year.

Many of the streets were clogged with shoppers and visitors alike particularly in Abbeygate Street, Hatter Street, Angel Hill and the Abbey Gardens looking round for a Christmas bargain while many converged on the Buttermarket and Cornhill which was the site for the market on Friday and Saturday and the farmers’ market on Sunday.

Visitors enjoy the stalls in the Abbey Gardens. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Visitors enjoy the stalls in the Abbey Gardens. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

There was also entertainment on stages on Angel Hill and The Traverse to add to the fun.

Numbers may be down on last year’s 120,000 figure as some of the coaches destined for the event got caught up in the road delays following the closure of the M11 on Saturday after a lorry overturned.

Sharon Fairweather, the event manager, said she was delighted with the attendance and the weather was also kind.

“We have been really lucky with the weather and everyone has been good natured. The additional police have added to the event and there has been a lot of comments that we have had from people who have felt really safe and it’s been great to have their support and they have been so friendly and helpful.

Stalls on the Cornhill as part of the Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT

Stalls on the Cornhill as part of the Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

“We have also had a lot of people who have come to stay for a long weekend doing Christmas shopping because Bury is such a great place for shopping now and many of the traders have been staying locally at hotels and bed and breakfast.”

With a staff of over 200 people helping she paid tribute to them saying: “The whole team have put in a lot of hours and a lot of the council staff have worked very hard to make this a success.”

Simon Curle, who lives in the town, was a trader with his The Smoking Cow food outlet in the Abbey Gardens, and he said: “It’s been fantastic and really busy for us and we will be back next year for sure.”

Sarah Roberts had travelled down from County Durham to trade on Angel Hill with the family Leather Drinking Vessels business and she said: “We have been eight times before and it’s a lovely one to come to and it’s got such a lovely atmosphere and feels very family orientated.”

Spectacular view over the Angel Hill at night from the top of the Abbey Gate. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Spectacular view over the Angel Hill at night from the top of the Abbey Gate. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

And Jeffrey Fitch, from The Pocketwatch Waistcoat Company, who was situated in the Athenaeum, said it was another busy fayre but it would be the businesses last time at the event.

“We’ve had some great times down the years but we are now going into retirement and just going to trade online,” he said.

A packed Angel Hill during the Christmas Fayre. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

A packed Angel Hill during the Christmas Fayre. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

The packed Bury St Edmunds annual Christmas Fayre at the weekend.
Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT

The packed Bury St Edmunds annual Christmas Fayre at the weekend. Picture: SUZANNE ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

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