New Advent calendar promotes Keep it Local message

Fun at a previous Alnwick Christmas market.
Fun at a previous Alnwick Christmas market.
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A digital Advent calendar, supported by local businesses and giving shoppers the chance to win prizes, has been unveiled.

The Alnwick initiative, encouraging consumers to Keep it Local in the run-up to Christmas, will start tomorrow and run until Sunday, December 24.

The Advent calendar will be hosted on the Alnwick Markets Facebook page. The Christmassy scene will have numbered windows, each sponsored by one of the market traders or a local business.

Every day from tomorrow until Christmas Eve, there will be a chance to win one of the prizes that have been donated.

Visit www.facebook.com/alnwickmarkets to take part.

The calendar is the brainchild of Alnwick Markets’ Melanie Corn, who said: “We are very committed to encouraging local business and spreading the Keep it Local message.

“The take-up from business for places in the Advent calendar has been very enthusiastic.

“We believe it will be another great way of showcasing the excellent quality and value the town has to offer at Christmas and throughout the year and it will add to the excitement of Christmas around town.”

Regular market traders Richard Knapper, of Snapper Photography, and Graeme Nicholson, of Art of Glass, were among the first to pledge their support. Richard said: “It’s a great way to profile the town and the Market Place and a novel social-media idea.”

Dawn McMullen, from The Wool Shop in the Market Place, added: “The calendar is a brilliant idea to showcase the town’s shops and businesses. We’re proud to be behind one of the windows in the Advent calendar with a seasonal gift.”

The launch of the calendar comes a day before Small Business Saturday – a nationwide grass-roots initiative celebrating and promoting independent businesses.

As part of this, Alnwick is staging its annual Christmas market on Saturday and Sunday. Philip Angier, chairman of Alnwick Markets, said: “Our annual Christmas Market is always a celebratory occasion.

“The Market Place will be buzzing with live music and carol singing and we are expecting more than 50 stallholders selling a range of items.”

The Barnacre Alpacas and birds of prey will visit on both days, there will be face-painting over the course of the weekend and special guests Santa Claus and Olaf the snowman who will spreading Christmas cheer. Refreshments will be served by 1st Whittingham BP Scouts in the Northumberland Hall.

On Saturday, there will be music from the Salvation Army Band (10am–11.30am); St Michael’s C of E School Choir (11.45am–noon); Christians Together Carol Singers (12.15pm to 1.15pm) and Jenny Biddle (1.30pm–3.30pm).

On Sunday, the Bailiffgtae Singers will perform from 11am to noon, followed by the Duchess’s Community High School Ceilidh Band, from 12.30pm to 2pm.