Sun shines on packed event

SHOW OFF: Jane Hadley with her Hadley ice cream.
SHOW OFF: Jane Hadley with her Hadley ice cream.
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Glorious sunshine put the icing on the cake for Clare Priory at the weekend as 9,000 people flocked to its two-day craft fair, now in its 20th year.

Organisers say the beautiful weather helped to swell numbers to make it one of the most well-attended shows in its history.

Bernard Rushton, one of the organisers, said: “It was fantastic. We thought the heat might put people off coming but it was the other way round.

“The hot weather ensured we were spared the headaches of last year when we found ourselves hurriedly phoning around for supplies of straw to soak up the incessant rain, wondering if we would have to cancel the event at the eleventh hour.”

From jewellery-making to wood turning, pottery, quilting and felting, there were 170 stalls offering visitors a huge array of crafted goods, including eggs decorated in the Fabergé style and willow basket and hurdle weaving.

A blacksmith, hot-forging mini-horseshoes and toasting forks, gave a demonstration at the event for the first time.

While parents enjoyed a chance to sample the variety of food and refreshments on offer, children were kept entertained by Punch and Judy shows and a magician.

The fair is a major fundraising event for the medieval priory which has just completed a £1.3million extension to its Catholic church.

Mr Rushton said: “The ongoing building work for the new church extension had presented us with some logistical headaches, never really being sure if the work would be complete in time.

“It was a shame we were unable to show off the new building to the public, as completion is expected in another couple of weeks.”