Events aim to get spirit back into town centre

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MAJOR events are being lined up to bring people back to Blyth town centre.

A series of activities are being proposed in the lead up to the ‘big one’ – Blyth Town Fair on July 23.

And organisers are delighted at the level of community spirit being shown, with residents, businesses, charities, organisations and councillors all keen to get involved.

Paul Taylor, of Community Works, has been brought in by Blyth Town Council on a part-time contract to help organise the town fair, and he is already excited by the interest shown.

The former community development worker at Blyth Valley Council said: “We’ve had 17 local groups come forward who want to be involved.

“They range from small businesses selling cosmetics and jewellery, to face painters, photographers, local theatre groups and local sports clubs.

“People I talk to are saying ‘why don’t we have this and that?’.

“It’s captivated the imagination of the councillors as well.

“We’ve also had a fantastic response from local people.”

Also planned for the event is a pop-up five-a-side football pitch where youngsters or adults can take part in a tournament on the day or have a kick around.

Plans are also being drawn up for a funfair over the weekend with large and small rides.

The town fair has been born out of meetings with the National Market Traders’ Federation and its ‘Making Markets Matter’ scheme to showcase markets, and in particular the opportunities at Blyth Market.

Mr Taylor said: “We want to encourage people to come down and come back and shop in the town.

“People have gone to shop elsewhere in recent years, we want to show them what we now have in Blyth.

“The town council want to use this as a catalyst for the development of events into the eight wards in Blyth.

“They are also very keen on building relations with the county council and working closely within the town.”

He also praised the work of the town council and councillors for their determination to get people back into Blyth.

And Mr Taylor highlighted the work of the former Blyth Valley Council and the new-look market place.

“In the past, there has been a lot of criticism on the council for opening the market place up they way they have,” he said.

“A lot of people saw it as a great big grey space. I see it as an opportunity to use it as a focal point for the town centre.