From Yoxford to Rome: Market with a twist to return to Suffolk this weekend

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH L

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Yoxford is to hold its annual Christmas market with a twist this weekend.

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH L

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Rome will be the theme of this year’s event with all funds raised going towards the replacement of the village hall.

This year Freddy French and Poppy Childs will take on the task of opening the market dressed as Julius and Mrs Caesar.

Their costumes for the day have been put together by local artist and retired theatre designer Michael Stennett, who creates new outfits each year for the event.

Mr Stennett retired 20 years ago after a long career designing costumes for productions as far afield as Australia and Los Angeles.

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH L

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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One of these operas, Semiramide, is due to be revived in New York next year, 25 years after the production Mr Stennett was involved in.

“It’s just fun to make stuff,” he said. “I feel like I am fitting two opera singers. The children are always very excited.”

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Over the years Mr Stennett has created a number of costumes for youngsters to wear to the event including that of Tudor monarch Queen Elizabeth I.

Asked which was his favourite outfit, Mr Stennett said it was that of Queen Victoria who graced the market with her presence in 2015 alongside her beloved husband, Albert.

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH L

Poppy Childs and Freddy French preparing for the annual Yoxford Christmas Market. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

He believed that the youngsters on the day managed to inhabit their characters in a very believable way.

In terms of creating his masterpieces, Mr Stennett is very skilled with his time and money.

“I am quite resourceful,” he said. “Most of it comes from charity shops.”

Caesar’s tunic was formerly a woman’s party dress, which has been masterfully recycled into the robes of a Roman leader.

Mr and Mrs Caesar will be playing an important role on the day of the market, handing out presents throughout the day to youngsters.

The market will take place between 10am and 2pm with a range of festive gifts on offer for shoppers to peruse. Festive food including mince pies, mulled wine and homemade lunches will also be served at the market.

There will also be a variety of entertainment and fun on stage including what organisers describe as ‘impromptu singing’.

Any funds raised at the event will go towards the creation of a new village hall.

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