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WIN: Martin’s book captures memories of Barnstaple Fair

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 September 2016 | UPDATED: 13:17 07 September 2016

Barnstaple fair historian Martin Burridge, pictured outside the museum with a copy of his book. Picture: Andy Keeble

Barnstaple fair historian Martin Burridge, pictured outside the museum with a copy of his book. Picture: Andy Keeble

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Hundreds of photographs and stories compiled into new book celebrating town’s romance with the fair

Barnstaple fair historian Martin Burridge, pictured outside the museum with a copy of his book. Picture: Andy Keeble Barnstaple fair historian Martin Burridge, pictured outside the museum with a copy of his book. Picture: Andy Keeble

Nearly 30 years of research has been compiled into a new book celebrating the history of Barnstaple Fair.

Barnstaple Charter Fair has been written by local man Martin Burridge and is being published next week to coincide with Barnstaple Fair Heritage Society’s Heritage Lottery Funded project ‘Barnstaple Fair – the last 50 years’.

It contains nearly 200 glossy pages packed with more than 300 photographs and details about the fair, from its earliest times to the present day.

Martin, 64, said the fair had held a special fascination from an early age.

“I’ve got over 250 books about fairgrounds and all sorts of memorabilia at home,” he said.

“As kids, we used to hang around the showmen when they were setting up.

“Like other people in the town, my mum used to earn a bit of extra money by doing their laundry. She used to take us to the fair with the money she earned.”

Martin, who has written for the World’s Fair magazine since 1977, said he had been gathering information about the fair for nearly four decades.

Now an honorary member of the Showmen’s Guild, he said: “I started helping the showmen out – putting stalls up and packing them back into the lorry in 1966. They’d always tell me things and I’d pick up little stories.

“The showmen said I should’ve written this book 20 years ago.”

Win a copy of Martin’s book

The book is available to buy from Barnstaple museum priced £14.95. Just 500 copies have been printed but the Gazette has a copy up for grabs.

Just answer the following question: What year was Barnstaple Fair last held at North Walk?

Send your answer on the back of a postcard, along with your name, address and telephone number to Barnstaple Fair Book Competition, North Devon Gazette, Old Station Road, Barnstaple, EX32 8PB.

Or enter online here.

Entry closes on Monday, September 19.

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