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Christmas Gift & Food Fair raises record amount at Ripon Cathedral - Ripon Cathedral


Christmas Gift & Food Fair raises record amount at Ripon Cathedral

In excess of £41,000 was raised last weekend at Ripon Cathedral’s annual Christmas Gift & Food Fair, contributing to a record year for fundraising.

November 29, 2023

Over the two day fair on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th of November some 5,000 people came to support the cathedral and the 100 stall holders – independent traders from across the region.

Visitors were able to listen to live music from choirs made up of over 600 performers including local school children.  Knot Another Choir, Rock Choir, All for one Choir and Featherstone Male Voice Choir, to name but a few, added to the atmosphere while visitors sampled food and drink from local producers.

The funds raised will be used for Ripon Cathedral’s mission to serve the people and communities of North Yorkshire and the Diocese of Leeds, its education programme (including free activities for children in the cathedral during school holidays), music and heritage conservation.

Event organiser Nicola Bailey commented: “The success of this fair is due to the extra mile we go to give our visitors a beautiful shopping experience: free parking, free live music and a wonderful selection of independent traders to shop from – all in the stunning setting of Ripon Cathedral.

“The event is reliant on our fabulous volunteers who work so hard to help put on such a special event. Rick Jones from Valentino’s has supported the event by cooking the turkey for the pop-up café for years. Needless to say, the turkey sandwiches ran out on both days!”

The free park and ride shuttle bus service, organised by the cathedral and provided by Ripon Community Link (The Walled Garden) on Friday and Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate on Saturday, was constantly busy throughout both days and car parks in the city were full as thousands flocked into the cathedral to enjoy this festive event. 

One visitor commented: “A fantastic Christmas Fair. The cathedral was heaving yesterday, (Saturday)… I also took the time to look at all of Ripon’s businesses as I walked to and from my long-sought parking space at Booths. The city was heaving. Parking spaces were full, streets and shops, cafes and pubs all busy. People I know from out of town used the supermarkets too. It made me aware of how much of an asset Ripon Cathedral is to the city.”

A spokesperson from Ripon Community Link (The Walled Garden), one of the cathedral’s partner charities, said: “By partnering with the cathedral in providing the shuttle bus service on Friday we were able to distribute our fliers advertising the start of our Christmas Tree sales. This obviously worked extremely well as we were very busy compared with previous years on Saturday after running the shuttle bus on Friday at the Christmas Fair”.

Visitors came from far and wide to enjoy the fair and the city of Ripon, including seven coach parties over the two days. One raffle prize winner commented: “We had such a lovely time today. I travelled from Nottingham taking my mum and picking my daughter up from York. We visited Ripon and the fair last year for the first time and we will certainly be back next year.”

The atmosphere was magical and loved by all. One new stallholder, John Short of Mallowdramatic commented: “Where do I start other than WOW! What a weekend and what an event. It was absolutely tremendous, thank you so much for having me. I had the best two days of my young business so far, both in terms of takings and just for the fact I was trading in an absolutely phenomenal venue surrounded by fantastically talented traders who were also a joy to be alongside as they were so nice. I’m so grateful for you for having me there and the impact it has had on my business.”

The cathedral is grateful to many local businesses including R&J Butchers and Hemingways, plus our local supermarkets – Morrisons, Sainsburys and Aldi – all of whom supported the event with generous donations of products or discounted items.

Nicola Bailey also commented that: “The event could not take place without the help of so many volunteers, and we are truly grateful to everyone who helped on the day.  We look forward to working as a team to put on another fundraising event soon.”

The next big fundraising fair will be the Spring Food, Home and Garden Fair on Saturday 13th April 2024.  Interested traders should contact Nicola Bailey.