Market brings seasonal fun to Bognor Regis

Boots staff with Santa. Photo by Steve Robards SR1527012
Boots staff with Santa. Photo by Steve Robards SR1527012

CAROLS, Father Christmas and Victorian characters brought the festive season to life in Bognor Regis.

The town’s second Christmas market also had plenty of fake snow and some entertainment to create a seasonal atmosphere.

But the real weather ensured it was tough going with wind gusts up to 45mph on Saturday and part of Sunday as stormy conditions hit the town’s Christmas celebrations for the second weekend running.

Town centre manager Toyubur Rahman said: “The market went OK despite the weather. The wind was the biggest downside, especially on Saturday. We had trouble keeping the stalls down.”

Two stalls were damaged by the gales by Sunday and 80m of stalls failed to arrive because they had been caught in the previous week’s storms in Cumbria.

A stilt walker and a fire eater were among the entertainers unable to perform.

An organ grinder, the Azure group of student singers led by Rebecca Ford and Magic Martin did provide entertainment. Five Dividing Line living history members also dressed up as Victorians on the market’s final day.

But Mr Rahman said the stalls which survived did well as did many of the precinct’s shops. “The stall holders were happy and I spoke to shops like Boots, Poundland and JD Sports and they were all pleased with their trading as well,” he said.

Boots was also the scene of Advent calendar unwrapping on Saturday morning. The store’s staff dressed in Victorian costumes and handed out treats with the Salvation Army band nearby playing seasonal tunes.

The fake snow was also popular following last year’s success. “Children were just running around trying to catch it,” said Mr Rahman. “The shops where the machines were placed also attracted a lot of attention.”

The market on the London Road precinct ended on Sunday after having started last Wednesday.

The Salvation Army band’s 15 members aged 8-80 got shoppers in the mood on Saturday with some carols.

Captain Jonathan Rouffet, its leader, said: “We are here to spread some of the Christmas message at this time of year.

“People get a sense that Christmas is here when they hear us playing carols. There is something evocative about the words of carols that leads people to think about the Christmas spirit.

“At the same time, we are able to collect funds for the community work we do in the town.”

Father Christmas visited the market in his map room at the weekend.

Children who entered his magical space could find their home on a map to enable him to get directions for their presents on Christmas Eve.

“The naughty elves have stolen my map. So, I have to ask the children to help me,” he said. “They also get a magic snowman which they can put in their window so I will be able to find them.”

Ten stalls lined the precinct. Most sold food with some selling crafts and gifts.

Andriana Drummond and her sister, Eleonora Pogany, brought along their business, Valencia Paella, with paella and Spanish wraps from their native country.

Andriana said: “It’s our first time here. It’s very good and we have enjoyed working here. It’s been busy with a lot of nice people.

“Hopefully, they like our food. We would definitely like to come back in the summer.”

Saba Lazer returned for his third visit selling baklava, olives and cakes. He said: “It’s very busy and that’s why I came back. I like it here and I will be back again.”

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