Showmen prepare for battle over Preston’s historic Whit Fair

Left: Thrillseekers get lift-off during the 2015 Whitsuntide Fair on Prestons Flag Market. Right: Almost a century ago the 1920 Whit Fair drew crowds to the Flag Market
Left: Thrillseekers get lift-off during the 2015 Whitsuntide Fair on Prestons Flag Market. Right: Almost a century ago the 1920 Whit Fair drew crowds to the Flag Market
0
Have your say

Fairground bosses will hold a summit meeting tomorrow to decide their next move after finally being told Preston’s historic Whit Fair is being kicked out of the city centre.

Officials of the Showmen’s Guild are furious that a tradition dating back at least 200 years will be axed by the council in May and move to Moor Park.

The decision will be top of the agenda when officials of the Guild’s Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales section gather in Bury.

John Silcock, whose family have been bringing rides to Preston Whit Fair for generations, said: “This is scandalous. This fair has a Royal Charter going back centuries and councillors just think they can tear that up.

“What’s even more disgusting is the Showmen’s Guild has been trying to get a meeting with them to talk about this for months and they’ve been avoiding us.”

The Whit Fair dates back to the early 19th century and has always been held in the centre of Preston. But council officials warned the Showmen’s Guild last September the event might have to move out of town yet the fairground families are adamant they won’t move.

Secretary Leesa Beckwith said: “We’ve had a lettter saying the city centre is no longer suitable because we have outgrown it.”

Preston Council’s director of environment Adrian Phillips said: “We like a fun fair as much as anyone else and believe that the newly-created events area on Moor Park provides the ideal location for an expanded Whitsuntide Fair. The council is ready to work with the Showman’s Guild to make the fair on Moor Park a successful event.”