Ford market celebrates its 30th anniversary at airfield

Ford Market. Photo contributed.
Ford Market. Photo contributed.

Ford Market has celebrated 30 years since it opened its gates for the first time.

The trading area on Ford Airfield started as a shopping club on Sundays, with all members signing in and paying 10p to join, and has evolved over the years.

Three decades later, some of the original traders are still there every week, along with the popular car boot sales.

Sue Abbot, who runs the market with Peter Hague, said: “It’s a buzz, particularly first thing in the morning.

“People are looking for what treasures they’re going to find and there’s still treasure to be found so people are still going to come in to find out what there is this week.

“I think that’s special about it.”

Sue and Peter first started the market in 1988 with Tom Malpas and the grand opening featured Bernie Winters and his dog Schnorbits.

Notable events through the years have included a 24ft snowman in 2010 that blocked part of the car park for weeks before it finally melted and a church service led by Bishop Lindsay, who then walked through the Sunday Market fully robed, talking to traders.

The site has also seen the regular BBC filming of car boot programme ‘Put your money where your mouth is’.

Sue said facilities had also improved to cater for demand and it had a stong management team led by site manager Gary Brown.

Sue said: “The site is special because it’s so brilliant – it’s got hard standing, really good loos, disabled facilities, lots of car parking, it’s perfect.

“When we got the planning originally, the inspector said it was the best market site in the south of England and it’s because it has everything that everybody needs.

“That’s why the BBC liked filming there, it just works for everybody.”

She said she was confident the atmosphere would keep the market going for years to come.

“I think Tom would have been proud that, after his death, Ford Market has gone from strength to strength,” she said.