End of Madeira era

AFTER 30 years of selling homemade cake and jam, the country market outside Huntingdon Library on Friday mornings is to close. The market where people sell home produce – previously known as the Women s Institute Market – says the Huntingdon branch is suf

AFTER 30 years of selling homemade cake and jam, the country market outside Huntingdon Library on Friday mornings is to close.

The market where people sell home produce - previously known as the Women's Institute Market - says the Huntingdon branch is suffering from falling sales and is no longer viable.

Currently, seven traders run the stalls as a co-operative, also selling homemade greetings cards and pot plants.

The group's chairman, Alison Dickens, 81, said she would carry on making her fruit cake to sell at the country market in St Neots.


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Mrs Dickens said: "Most of our customers are elderly and when they can't get out or they are not here anymore, they are not being replaced by younger ones. I shall miss meeting people. We have made a lot of friends over the years."

The markets were obliged 10 years ago to separate from the WI by the Charity Commission, which said the WI was a charity and the market was a business and the two were not compatible.

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Another trader, Kath Carr, 67, said: "We sold seasonable produce and good fresh vegetables and fruit. Recently, we have really, really struggled. The town centre has changed and unless people are going to the library they don't see us. A lot of offices have closed, we have lost a lot of our regular customers and younger people don't cook. They shop with their plastic at supermarkets. There are a lot of factors. We will miss all the good friends we made."

Another of the seven traders, Betty Trevett, said: "We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years and apologise to our regular customers, whom we have enjoyed serving."

INFORMATION: Country markets will continue in St Ives on Friday mornings and St Neots on Thursday mornings. The last Huntingdon Country Market will be on Friday, December 22.

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