Wirral’s Christmas fair returns to support North West Cancer Research

 THE Wirral Bazaar, which has gone from strength to strength over the past 27 years, will open its doors once again this November, in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for North West Cancer Research.

Taking place on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd November at Thornton Manor, the annual shopping spectacular features a collection of more than 70 carefully selected stalls offering a variety of unique and beautiful Christmas gifts, which cannot be found on the high street.

The wide variety of stalls means that Christmas shopping can be done in one day, saving time and no waiting in for deliveries.

For many Wirral residents coming to the Bazaar has formed part of their family Christmas traditions for generations.

Last year’s event attracted 2,800 visitors, and raised a record-breaking £40,000 for North West Cancer Research, with stall holders donating 10% of their takings to the local charity which funds life-saving cancer research.

The fair gives shoppers the unique opportunity to donate to charity whilst doing their Christmas shopping. In addition, the £4 entry fee and profits from the catering goes directly to North West Cancer Research.

The Wirral Bazaar was first founded in October 1991 by Lady Carolyn Boringdon and her friends Helen Taylor and April Stern, following a visit to a fair in Wrexham.

Together they organised their own event on the Wirral and persuaded small businesses from all over the UK to take a stall at the Bazaar, to offer visitors the opportunity to buy gifts which aren’t readily found on the high street – unique and beautiful presents for all the family.

Held at Heswall Hall for three years, the fair then moved to The Grange in Thornton Hough which it quickly outgrew, and four years ago set up home at the Walled Garden Marquee at Thornton Manor where the event is still held.

Half the funds raised from the original two-day event were donated to The Iris Fund for the prevention of blindness, with the other half donated to local charities. Other historical beneficiaries have included Dale Farm and The Women’s Refuge in Birkenhead.

Ann Wild took over the reins in 1994, supported by her friends Carol Stoddart, Jenny Jackson and Anne Williams. Having recently lost a friend to cancer and with a desire to do something to help, Ann and the ladies decided to dedicate the event solely to raise money for cancer research.

Today, 27 years on, Ann is still part of the Bazaar Committee, which is now made up by Jennie Corlett, Alison Tongue, Carolyn Tallents, Ruth Walker, Catherine Sandow and Kate Williams. 

Each of the ladies involved arrived on the committee through their own personal journey. Some have lost loved ones and friends to cancer and some have even fought the disease themselves.

Ann Wild said: “Lady Boringdon was the original force behind the Bazaar and it was she who encouraged me to take over when she stepped down. The first Bazaars were a lot smaller, with just a handful of stall holders, I don’t think any of the original founders would have believed how the event would grow into what it is today.

“Cancer is a terrible disease which has touched the lives of many of us. I myself have lost many good friends to the disease, including my husband Patrick. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a blood test and underwent a year of treatment, but sadly died in 2009.

“All the volunteers and stallholders we work with share the same conviction and determination to do something about this dreadful disease. Every penny we raise to fund research and the fight against cancer is important, which is why the support of the local community who turn out year after year is gratefully received by us all.

“The Bazaar is a fantastic event to enjoy with friends and family and with the wide variety of stalls available; it is the perfect chance to get hold of some exclusive gifts this Christmas.”

Nigel Lanceley, Chairman of North West Cancer Research, added: “On behalf of everyone at North West Cancer Research, I would like to thank the group for their astonishing efforts and for turning the Bazaar into such an iconic event for the Wirral community.

“We rely heavily on the work of our volunteers and community fundraising events like Wirral Bazaar which account for a significant proportion of our income. Without them, we would not be able to continue to commit to funding the best research locally.”

This year’s Wirral Bazaar will take place in the Walled Garden Marquee at Thornton Manor on Wednesday 1st November from 3pm till 9pm and on Thursday 2nd November from 9.30am till 3pm.

The Bazaar is sponsored by The Mitchell Group, Cammel Laird, Investec, Harris Opticians, Guy Williams Layton and Thornton Manor, whose support has insured the continuing success of the fair.

Entry is £4, and all on one level so suitable for disabled shoppers and those with buggies. For more information visit www.wirralbazaar.com