Released: 03 January 2017

Whitefriars Christmas Market 'Best Ever'

The 2016 market was our best ever!

Whitefriars Manager Peter Scutt says: “The Christmas Market was a big hit both with local visitors and those from further afield. We had lots of shoppers from France, Holland, Belgium and even Germany looking for bargains with the weak pound. One family came over especially from Boston (USA). Several of our stallholders sold out and we had to help Santa find a few extra presents when he was running short on Christmas Eve!”

This year’s market was also one of our largest ever, with over 40 stalls spread across Whitefriars. For the first time, an area was set aside for charities and community groups, who could make use of the space free of charge to raise funds. The market organiser also offered a gift-wrapping service in exchange for a donation to Canterbury Food Bank. Two car loads of food and around £400 was donated in just four days.

Unique, innovative and limited edition art, craft and design created by talented young designers from across Kent was also on offer for the first time. The Student Makers Market had their own cabin in Gravel Walk, with 12 makers aged 16 to 30 selling a wide range of original gifts.

Student Maker Nicola Priest, who brought the makers together and managed the stall throughout, says: “It was great to get the added experience that running the stall on our own gave us, as opposed to the supported Student Makers Markets. The young makers taking part all put in a huge amount of work, many taking it on as a full time job, from making the products to manning the stall. I gained lots of practical skills and experience in project management and managing a team in a market environment. We would love to do it again!”

Also trading in the market for the first time were representatives of Bethlehem’s olive wood carvers. The former Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Richard Llewellin, who helped facilitate their participation, says:

“With very significant help and imagination from staff at the Cathedral, Whitefriars kindly offered us a stall free of charge in their Christmas Market for Bethlehem’s olive wood carvers. Two representatives flew over from Palestine and stayed with families in the city. They were at the Christmas Market every day selling their beautifully carved Christmas cribs, crosses, statues and decorations, and were very pleased with the results. Probably about 50 percent of the sales went to people with some church connection in East Kent, because of the very wide publicity that went out towards the end of November. We hope that someone from Bethlehem will return this year.”

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