Are these the greatest Showmen in Lancashire? What is thought to be the largest gathering of civic dignitaries from across the North West converged on Ribby Hall Village, for the Annual Luncheon of The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain – Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales Section. Mayors and mayoresses representing 30 boroughs attended the function, in which they met Showmen’s Guild members and other associates of the travelling fairground industry.
This included organisers of fairs, plus providers of rides and attractions at many others throughout the North West.
The Mayor of Fylde, Coun Peter Collins, spoke fondly of the local Club Day tradition, where funfairs play an integral part of the proceedings at spring and summer events in Wrea Green, Kirkham, Freckleton, Lytham and beyond.
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Showmen’s Guild Lancashire Section chairman, Kirk Mulhearn, who is based in Garstang, says: “The purpose of this event was small-scale lobbying and to maintain strong partnerships with the 41 local authorities we work with to hold fun fair events.
“The fairground industry is made up of small family businesses who operate a few rides and we are very reliant on the local authorities for the provision of adequate sites.
“We invest a lot of money to bring a better event and products to the public.
“We wanted to promote ourselves and our businesses to continue the best possible working relationship with the local authorities, which we have done for more than a century.
“As things change, we want to know we can continue to provide traditional family entertainment for the public, which we know they do value.
“As a result, we hope to put a few quid in the coffers for the local authorities, which makes everyone happy.
“I’m sure everyone enjoyed the free meal and learning about the industry.
“The atmosphere in the room was warm and welcoming; something that comes naturally for those whose business is fun.”
Meanwhile the Guild’s national president, John Thurston made the distinction between travelling themselves as showmen, who operate in a legitimate, highly legislated and safe business, and gypsies or other kinds of travellers.