Sheringham celebrates newly-won status as Fairtrade town with ethically-traded coffee and cakes

Sheringham mayor Tricia Brooks and Fairtrade campaigner Brenda Smith presenting a certificate to She

Sheringham mayor Tricia Brooks and Fairtrade campaigner Brenda Smith presenting a certificate to Sheringham Park head warden Keith Zealand at a celebration marking Sheringham's newly-won status as a Fairtrade town. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

Shoppers, traders and campaigners tucked in to ethically-traded coffee and cakes, at a celebration marking Sheringham's newly-won status as a Fairtrade town.

Led by retired teacher Brenda Smith, a seven-strong committee has spent months working on meeting a range of criteria set out by the Fairtrade Foundation, including getting local shops to stock Fairtrade goods, raising awareness of the campaign in schools, churches and community groups, and passing on the Fairtrade message to local people.

The group also carried out a survey of local shops and businesses and had to gain the support of the town council, which now uses Fairtrade coffee and tea at meetings.

As a result of their efforts, more than 50 businesses and organisations, ranging from supermarkets, restaurants and churches, to guest houses, tourist attractions and local schools, have since pledged to support the initiative.

Mrs Smith, who, before retiring 15 years ago, worked at Sidestrand Hall School and Holt Primary School, is a long-term supporter of the development charity Traidcraft Exchange, to which she has donated the proceeds of a Fairtrade stall she runs, as well as part of the proceeds of a book she wrote for her grandchildren and published herself last year.


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She decided to look in to gaining Fairtrade status for Sheringham after visiting Wells-next-the-sea, which won the accolade in 2007 and, after campaigning tirelessly for months, was delighted when the town's bid was accepted first time.

'Most towns don't get Fairtrade status on their first attempt, so it was a fantastic surprise to get the news that Sheringham had got through,' Mrs Smith said.

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'I know that we are a caring, go-ahead, helpful community and being a Fairtrade town means that not only Sheringham, but the county, and, eventually, the country will know what a wonderful town we live in.'

Praising Mrs Smith and her team for their efforts, Sheringham mayor Tricia Brooks said: 'I think that what Brenda has done is quite remarkable and to actually get us Fairtrade status in just one year is just amazing.'

Mrs Smith is now working towards getting more shops to stock Fairtrade products and is hoping to get funding to install a plaque or sign in the town centre.

For more information about Fairtrade towns, visit www.fairtrade.org.uk

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