Barnstaple Fair a great success despite

Covid-19 lingering on


Barnstaple Fair Proclamation

Barnstaple Fair has been hailed a great success by The Western Section Showmen’s Guild and Barnstaple Town Council’s Mayor, Alan Rennles.

Alongside this the Fair Proclamation ceremony made history this year as it was live-streamed to a screen in the Pannier Market for guests of councillors and the public to watch. (This was to ensure that the number of guests in The Guildhall could still adhere to social distancing due to Covid).

Mayor Alan Rennles said: “This year I was determined we were going to have a fair. It was a great team effort with North Devon Council, The Western Section Showmen’s Guild and Barnstaple Town Council to get this up and running in one format or another and we did it.

“The fair site had to be re-jigged this year due to the Covid testing centre still being in place so much discussion was had about how best to do this. Fortunately we were able to find a solution and with just over a month to go we were able to make plans for the Fair Proclamation Ceremony for the first time since 2019.”

Rob Ward, Town Clerk said: “After the last 18 months we’ve all endured we needed some fun so I’m thrilled that we were able to bring the fair back to Barnstaple and we have lots of people to thank for helping to make the fair happen. We’d like to thank The Showmen’s Guild for their help and support throughout the complicated process this year and also our colleagues at North Devon Council, without whom this couldn’t have happened.

“Our thanks have to go to the Grosvenor Church Hall for accommodating us for our luncheon this year and all the amazing volunteers who were absolutely fantastic on the day, we can’t thank them enough. Not forgetting Cllr Julie Hunt who was the one who put together such an amazing three course meal for so many people at such very short notice.”

Robert Kefford, Chair of the Showmen’s Guild, Western Section (is he vice chair in fact?) said: “Barnstaple holds a very special place in our hearts so we were so happy to be back here this year and to do what we could to get this year’s fair up and running.

“It’s been a huge success, despite it being nearly half the size and we were blessed with great weather and a fantastic turn out. We always love being in Barnstaple and the people of Barnstaple didn’t disappoint, we’re now looking forward to next year and hopefully a return to normal or near as normal as possible.”

The Barnstaple Fair, a centuries old tradition had its first break last year since 1823, when the fair was cancelled for the Cholera outbreak. It is hoped that by this time next year there will be no need for a Covid test centre in the middle of the site so that Barnstaple can welcome back the whole fair in 2022.

Speakers included, Chairman of the Western Section Showmen’s Guild, Tommy Charles.

Dean Warmington of Underwood Warmington

Andy Shiner President of Barnstaple Lions Club

Superintendent Toby Davies, Devon and Cornwall Police

David Gayton, WS Gayton & Son Ltd.