Cathedral gift fair raises £18K

Shoppers pack out the cathedral as they browse the stalls. (S)
Shoppers pack out the cathedral as they browse the stalls. (S)

Thousands of visitors from across Yorkshire have flocked to Ripon Cathedral to its annual Christmas Gift and Food Fair.

The event was visited by 3,400 people who helped raise £18,750 towards the cathedral’s Music Trust – an appeal to raise £5m which will be formally launched at its Britten’s Ceremony of Carols on December 14.

A seasonal atmosphere was created by more than 100 stalls of seasonal gifts and food in the cathedral and by various local musical groups who volunteered to entertain the crowds, from Ripon Grammar School, Ripon Stage Academy, the Yorkshire Decibelles, Skelldale Singers, Cowthorpe Handbell Ringers, Dishforth Military Wives Choir and Ripon Trinity Singers.

Margaret Hammond, the development campaign manager, said “This year’s fair was the 12th Christmas fair to take place at the cathedral which has now become a popular annual event in Ripon. It marks the start of the Christmas celebrations for the local community.

“It is wonderful to see so many people both inside the cathedral and also shopping in the city. The Christmas lights switch-on also took place on the Market Square after the fair closed which attracted a large number of people.”

Three hundred families and their children visited Santa’s grotto, which was created by the volunteers from Wolseley Ripon, and 500 turkey sandwiches were served and hundreds of cups of tea and coffee were provided by the cathedral volunteers.

Also taking place at the event were children’s craft activities, face painting, and a raffle and tombola.

Margaret said: “There are so many individuals to thank for helping to make this year’s Christmas Fair so stunning, from the volunteers who baked so many wonderful Christmas cakes to the volunteers who helped on the day, local Ripon businesses including Hemingways, Cocked Hat Farm Foods, the Old Deanery, and the soldiers from Claro Barracks in Ripon who 
helped set up the event as well as a group of employees from the Ripon office of Wolseley 

“Everyone worked so hard and helped in so many different ways to make sure the event was a huge success”

The Christmas gift and food fair is set to return to the cathedral next year on Saturday, November 21.