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Association works hard

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

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WITH reference to your article regarding the attempted take over of the South Molton Christmas Festival from South Molton Business Association (SMBA) I would like to place the facts before your readers ("Pledge to make Christmas stalls cheaper for traders", Journal, February 6).

The SMBA has been running this late night shopping event since 2008. We have, along with partners such as the church, the Fatstock Show, and local schools helped to develop this into a spiritual, material and social experience.

Indeed the feedback we have received from participating traders and public is that 2013 was the best yet. All who attended would be aware of the friendly and fun atmosphere enjoyed by many locals and visitors. Indeed we are already receiving enquires for 2014.

The event was also an economic success more than covering the costs, no mean feat.

The Christmas Festival is one of a number of events in the town that has given South Molton a reputation as a lively and enjoyable place to visit.

Now, two individuals initiated a public meeting described in your article as "tense" in which they struggled to form a committee to run their proposed cut-down version of the event. In doing so they raised a number of complaints, which are inaccurate and unfair.

Strange that this initiative was undertaken without any communication of their alleged concerns to the SMBA and one of the initiators of the coup is in fact the market manager who was quoted as saying "I would rather be working in a committee of one than working with the Business Association".

I have nothing against this gentleman but am uneasy that this council employee would have such an unprofessional attitude to an important voluntary organisation in the town.

Reputations are hard to establish but easy to destroy. It would be a shame if a small group representing a narrow interest in the town were allowed to spoil what some of us have worked hard to achieve for South Molton.

While these gentlemen refuse to work with us we are happy to work with everyone who wishes to make this event even better.

Traders individually or as part of a truly representative association are always welcome to join our democratic, voluntary organisation.

See relevant correspondence on our Facebook page.

JONATHAN LAWRENCE, Chairman, SMBA.

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