Coleshill Country Market has a double cause for celebration. It has just received a Communities Grant of £1000 from Warwickshire County Council in recognition of its role in bringing the local community together and providing a friendly welcoming atmosphere as well as high-quality home-made produce. The money is being spent on a brand-new gazebo, smart new aprons, signage, table runners bearing the market logo and further publicity to let more people know about it and to appeal for new producers to meet growing demand.
This month, it also celebrates its 50th birthday with a grand anniversary party featuring home-baked cake and a glass of fizz or a cuppa, during the Market on Friday, April 26th at 10.30am in the Parish Room, 132, High Street, Coleshill – everyone welcome.
“We’re very proud that we’re still going after 50 years thanks to our loyal producers and customers,” said Market Manager Janet Reilly, a gardening expert who together with Martin Cross supplies many of the plants and flowers for the Market each week. “We’re now one of the longest-running attractions in Coleshill. The market is very friendly and a great meeting place. Lots of people come in to have a chat and meet their friends while they browse and make their purchases. We recently started offering a ‘special of the day’ which has proved extremely popular – free samples of different home-baked treats. One week it might be mouth-watering chocolate roulade, another week coconut tartlets or cheese scones still warm from the oven, a speciality of one of our accomplished cooks Sue Lappin.
We have some lovely stuff – from jams, eggs, honey, cakes, cookies and savouries to plants, hand-made jewellery, greetings cards, crafts, knitting and woodwork. We’re also taking orders for seasonal treats like Easter cookies, chocolate nests, cheesecakes and mouth-watering Simnel Cake with its gooey marzipan filling and 11 marzipan eggs around the top. These represent the 11 ‘good’ Apostles – Judas doesn’t get one! We are also selling unique hand-made cards and gifts.
Christine Jones serving loyal customer Nerissa Boardman
We love welcoming new producers and of course customers from all over the area, so we hope the celebrations will help spread the word and encourage more people to come along to browse, buy or find out more about us and, if they enjoy cooking, gardening or crafts, to consider becoming one of our producers or helpers themselves. It’s friendly, fun and we’ll help newcomers choose what to produce and how to package it. Everyone is paid for what they sell at the end of each month after we have taken a small fee to cover the cost of running the Market. We take orders for all our produce including children’s clothes and crafts.”
Janet and fellow-producer Sue Lappin have helped boost sales and attract still more customers recently, by delivetring produce to customers in the shops and offices in the High Street where the scent of freshly baked lemon drizzle cakes, quiches and sausage rolls has proved irresistible.
Christine Jones with her new season’s marmalade
Coleshill Market’s only remaining founder member, Christine Jones, 91, is renowned for her marmalades and cakes and still produces trays of baked goods and preserves every week. She enjoys serving at the Market each Friday and has hardly missed a week in 50 years.
“We started in April 1969 as Coleshill WI Market,” she recalled. “At our first market we had 20 different producers and in those pre-decimal days took £29-12 shillings, a lot of money then. We’ve kept mementoes and press cuttings showing many of the Market highlights over that time, including the day we opened all those years ago – and we’ll have this on display during our celebrations, so older Coleshillians will probably recognise some familiar faces from 50 years ago.”
Christine is also taking part in the centenary of the national Country Market Movement at Staffordshire Showground on April 30th, when she and one of the country’s youngest producers will be cutting a celebration cake together for the cameras, representing the wide range of ages attracted by marketing.
Anyone interested in visiting Coleshill Country Market, ordering produce or becoming a producer should pop in any Friday morning, or ring Christine on 01675-462012, Deanna on 01675-463239 or Sally on 07860-346878.