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Home-made cake will help to mark Otley market's 30th anniversary
9:00am Saturday 9th March 2013 in Local news
A volunteer-driven market will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Otley next week with, appropriately, a home-made cake.
Otley Country Market, which sells home baking, preserves, clothes, flowers, vegetables, crafts and more, has been running since March 9, 1983.
It started life following a meeting of the Chevin Group of the Women’s Institute, attended by representatives from other local WI branches, the year before.
Founder member Daphne Baxter was one of those present at that 1982 meeting.
Three decades on, she is still thoroughly enjoying the market, which now meets at the St John Ambulance Hall on the first and third Friday of each month.
She said: “The meeting was where the idea for starting the market began, and a committee was formed. I was there as part of the Farnley Estate WI.
“Our first market was held at the Civic Centre but we ended up leaving because they were supposed to be refurbishing the place. All these years on and it's still waiting for a refurbishment!
“We moved to the Scout Hut, on Burras Lane, and ran there for many years before they too were getting a refurbishment, so we came here.
“Although it started as a WI market, we’re now part of Country Markets Ltd and it’s run like a co-operative.
“We’re all volunteers and all bring our wares in to sell.
“When we started there weren’t all these sandwich shops and things you get now in Otley, so some things have changed in terms of what customers want, but things like cakes and buns always stay popular.”
Stallholders still pay just 5p to join and become shareholders, the same fee as in 1983. A percentage from everybody's sales goes back into the market, to cover costs.
Many of the members enjoy baking, but some – like gift-card maker Rosaline Armitage or Mabel Dowson, who sews everything from aprons and shopping bags to spectacle cases – also like to focus on crafts.
Winnie Smith, a member for 30 years, said: “We enjoy baking and making things, and it’s also a chance to meet people and sell them things they’re interested in.”
Daphne, meanwhile, is confident the venture will continue to flourish. She said: “I won’t go on for another 30 years, but I’m sure the market will.”
The shareholders will celebrate their anniversary between 9.30am and 11.30am on Friday, March 15, with a special large birthday cake.