Witheridge Fair pulls in the crowds

MORE than 4,000 people attended what organisers have described the best ever Witheridge St John s Fair on Saturday. Parish council chairman Claire Goodwin and town crier Frank Housam rode into the village on a vintage steam-driven traction engine, leadi

MORE than 4,000 people attended what organisers have described the "best ever" Witheridge St John's Fair on Saturday.

Parish council chairman Claire Goodwin and town crier Frank Housam rode into the village on a vintage steam-driven traction engine, leading a grand carnival parade that also featured majorettes, samba and jazz bands, school children, animals, vintage tractors, and the Witheridge fire engine.

Villagers joined holiday makers and friends and families from far and wide to enjoy a host of events throughout the day including ferret racing; a fun dog show and obstacle race; paintball competition; inflatable jousting; and the annual Devon town crier championship, won this year by Roy Goodwin of Ilfracombe.

The afternoon ended with traditional village activities - a tug of war, children's races and an egg throwing competition. A children's town crying competition was won by Rhys Smith, 11, and Ellie Jenkins, 8, both of Witheridge.

A local farms food festival selling a range of hot food proved very popular with hungry Fair-goers.

Gerald Manning, chairman of the St John's Fair committee said that one of the objects of the Fair, part of the North Devon Festival, was to enable village charities and organisations to raise money for their funds. He said that this year's event had raised more than ever, around �4,000 in total.

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"Putting on the Fair takes a huge amount of effort and we have a remarkable group of volunteers who have worked especially hard this year to plan and run the event and to raise the money to pay for it.

"We already have ideas for next year's Fair and we are planning to top our success," he added.

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