Town to bounce back with first big event since pandemic hit

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019.

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019. - Credit: Stalham Area Business Forum

As a Norfolk town prepares for its first big event since Covid hit, how do families and businesses feel its recovery is going?

Stalham Vintage and Collectors Street Market will hold its first event since December 2019 on Sunday August 15, with 60 stalls and hundreds of shoppers set to pack the town centre.

It comes as businesses say trade is picking up as more shoppers become comfortable with visiting again.

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019.

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019. - Credit: Stalham Area Business Forum

Paul Neale, who owns Stalham DIY and Hardware, has seen steady trade since the town reopened, with his son set to run a drinks stall at the market.

He said: "We've been very pleasantly surprised, we've got a good customer base and they kept loyal, we haven't really noticed much difference to be honest."

Stalham's High Street, which is closed following a burst water main Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Stalham's High Street, which is closed following a burst water main Picture: MARK BULLIMORE - Credit: Archant


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His comments were echoed by Hannah Hanley at Break charity shop, who added the town was ready for a big event, as long as people remained sensible.

Ms Hanley said: "We were doing really well coming out of lockdown and it's been the same since the restrictions lifted.

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"A very high percentage of people are still wearing masks even though they're not being told to.

Stalham's vintage market in 2018. Pictures: Di Cornell

Stalham's vintage market in 2018. Pictures: Di Cornell - Credit: Archant

"We'll be open for the big market, as long as everyone is responsible for themselves, we'll be fine."

Stephen Franklin, bar manager at The Hanser hopes the market brings more drinkers, despite the pub being based on the outskirts.

He said while many were visiting for a meal, lots of drinkers had not returned since restrictions ended.

Paige Samwell, 12, enjoys the Christmas tree festival, part of the Stalham Yuletide Market. Picture:

Paige Samwell, 12, enjoys the Christmas tree festival, part of the Stalham Yuletide Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Mr Franklin said: "I don't know if it's a change in culture, or maybe people just realised it was an expensive hobby.

"With the market, we might lose a little business, because we're not in the town centre, but hopefully it will bring some more people in."

The High Street will be closed for the market which will see dealers travel from across the country to sell.

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019.

Stalham is preparing for its first vintage market since 2019. - Credit: Stalham Area Business Forum

Diana Cornell, of Stalham Area Business Forum, who organised the event, said: "It’s a day Stalham has been waiting for, when a street event can be held again along the High Street.

"What a day to look forward to after such a dismal 18 months."

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