Fair could be village’s last

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Update - By Ai­dan Bar­low

A guide dog is set to be the star of the show for what could be a village’s last ever an­nual fair later this month.

Qula has been un­der­go­ing her train­ing with guide dog walk­ers Stephen and Lorna Fryer from Willes­bor­ough.

They will at­tend the Smar­den Christ­mas Fair, which has been run­ning for the past 32 years and has raised more than £150,000 for good causes since it started in 1985.

The fair will in­cludes a range of char­ity and craft stalls, gifts, and stock­ing-fillers, and last year saw a record amount of more than £5,000 raised.

But it might be the fi­nal fair, as or­gan­iser Gill Brom­ley is con­sid­er­ing step­ping down after run­ning it for 20 years.

She said: “The event is ex­pected to bring a record num­ber of peo­ple. All the stalls are booked and I have a wait­ing list.

“I’ve been do­ing this for 20 years, and it might be time for a change. It’s not a fi­nal de­ci­sion, but there comes a point where if you or­gan­ise the last one, you want to go out on a high.

“This may be the fi­nal year we hold the event, so we want it to be the best ever.

“It may not be the last one if other stall­hold­ers come for­ward and take it on, or if I de­cide to do it for an­other year.

“It al­ways goes well, and it all helps to sup­port char­i­ties which are from the area. Stall­hold­ers are of­ten from Ash­ford or Ten­ter­den.”

Char­i­ties which have al­ready signed up in­clude the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Pil­grims Hos­pices, MS Ther­apy Cen­tre, the RSPCA, and Breast Cancer Kent.

Mrs Brom­ley said: “Qula is an­other at­trac­tion, it’s nice to have a cud­dly an­i­mal. Peo­ple can come along and find out about where their money goes to help the train­ing of pup­pies.”

The fair will take place at Smar­den Char­ter Hall in Chessenden Lane on Saturday, Oc­to­ber 28, from 10am to 2.30pm.

Qula the guide dog will be the star of the show at a Christ­mas Fair in Smar­den

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