NEWS: Aylsham Frost Fayre – a success for the community and local businesses!

Last week saw the Aylsham Frost Fayre arrive in the Market Place to coincide with the annual Christmas light switch on.

The Frost Fayre is a new event in the Aylsham calendar and has been organised by the Aylsham and Business Enterprise Forum (ABEF) as part of the Aylsham Town Team, working alongside Aylsham Town Council who played a vital role in ensuring the event was a success.  The event is designed to provide the local community with an additional Christmas celebration and drive up footfall in the town centre over the weeks leading up to Christmas to help local businesses.

Taking place over three days, the Frost Fayre has been hailed as a fantastic success with more people than usual attending the Christmas light switch on, visiting the stalls and activities and skating on the ice rink. And vitally, many local businesses have reported improvements in trade. Indeed, Gwen, Manageress at Barnwells, said: ‘I  have worked at Barnwells for the last 40 years and have witnessed first-hand many markets in the market place. The recent Frost Fayre was one of the very best Aylsham has organised and congratulations to all involved.’

The Frost Fayre featured numerous Christmas themed stalls from retailers in and around Aylsham including; Wattlefield Pottery, Vintage Gift Company, Plan To Cook, Agate Designs, Krazy Cupcakes, Norfolk Brewhouse, Norfolk Reloved, Phil’s Chillies, Artist Lesley Ash and Jessica Perry, Christophe’s, Re-creart, Bakimbo, Noggins Wood, Handmade Foods, Lisa Dawson Interiors, Boxes and Bags of Fun and the National Trust. Other events included ice carving, Christmas wrapping displays and carol singing by St Michael’s Primary School. The whole three day event saw a real celebration of old and new and all the usual markets working well alongside ABEF’s tremendous work, which meant the town centre was packed with activity.

The Fayre included an ice skating rink within St Michaels Churchyard which was extremely popular with young and old alike, many thanks go to the Rev. Andrew Beane who allowed the use of the Churchyard for this event. The performance by local students Ella Utting and Kayleigh Clements was exceptional and encouraged others to give it a go.

On the Thursday an extremely popular Cookery Theatre was held in conjunction with Slow Food Aylsham. Nicola Filby from JB Postle, a local electrical retailer commented that:

“On the first day of the Frost Fayre we held a Cookery Theatre in the Town Hall. Demonstrations were made by: a Local baker, Oli from Handmade foods, Burgh; a local butcher, Johnny Payne from Coxfords of Aylsham and three chefs: Richard Baker from Market Place Restaurant, Aylsham; Mark Sayer from The Saracens Head, Wolterton; and; David Tortice from Banningham Crown, Banningham.

Johnny and Richard did the most amazing butcher and chef double act! Someone filmed it and said they were going to put it on You Tube.

All of them did a great job using local products and of course entertaining the crowds with their top tips and ideas which was great. I hope the orders and bookings have increased because of it!

We had an array of stalls such as Broadland Veg boxes (Fresh veg to your door), Traidcraft (Fair trade food and products), Salvation Army Toys and Tins appeal, Nannyberries healthfood, Jamie Oliver at Home, Slow Food Aylsham and myself with gift ideas from our shop.

It was very successful and I would love to work with Slow Food Aylsham to promote another Cookery Theatre very soon as people said they really enjoyed it and I certainly did!”

Deborah Blake, Chairman of Aylsham Business and Enterprise forum, who organised the event said: ‘It was extremely hard work but worth it. I believe the event was a wonderful show case for Aylsham with visitors coming from across the county. The town was busy and vibrant lets aim for more of this in 2013!’

Other feedback received by ABEF has included:

Local trader: ‘thank you for getting so many people into the town especially on a Saturday afternoon’

Local resident: ‘I’m writing to say how much my family enjoyed the Frost Fayre. We visited several times as there was a lot to see, including the trees in the church, The standard of produce in the marquee was very good and we really enjoyed the layout of the market place, without any traffic and busses, for once.

Visitor: You should be very proud of what you have achieved, Aylsham can only build on this success and go from strength to strength for next year.’

Stall holder: Thank you so much for inviting us to attend, we really enjoyed it and would like to be included in any future events you organise.

Call for new members

The event is just one of a number of projects that ABEF and the Aylsham Town Team have implemented over the last year to support and enhance the local economy.

Following the success of the Frost Fayre and other initiatives, ABEF are seeking new members.  If you would like to join in with the fantastic work they have been doing and support Aylsham, please contact Deborah Blake on 01263 739990 or

If you would like to know more about the Aylsham Town Team please contact either Ross or Kate from Ingham Pinnock Associates who would be happy to provide further information or let you know how to get involved. Their contact details are as follows / kate@ingham or 07827 240 059/0797 436 3991.



Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum

The Aylsham Traders Association was reinvigorated at the start of 2012 to form the Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum (ABEF) as per recommendations in the Aylsham Regeneration and Delivery Strategy.  Working with the Town Team, ABEF has helped to deliver a number of the projects such as an ‘adopt a driveway’ scheme, additional parking for traders at the various locations across the town, new branding, the Frost Fayre and various continental markets.

Aylsham Regeneration and Delivery Strategy and the Aylsham Town Team

In October 2011 Broadland District Council commissioned a Regeneration and Delivery Strategy for Aylsham. The main objective of the Strategy was to identify projects that could support and enhance the economy of Aylsham. In order to guide the development of the Strategy, a steering group was set up comprising key local stakeholders including:

  • Aylsham Town Council
  • Cittaslow Committee
  • Aylsham High School
  • Aylsham Community Partnership
  • Aylsham Traders (with recommendations set out in the strategy this group re-launched as ABEF)
  • Broadland District Council – three district Councillors, Economic Development, Community and Planning departments represented

This steering group met on a regular basis to help produce the Strategy and in particular to help define specific economic and community development projects.

In February 2012 the Regeneration and Delivery Strategy was finalised.  It included around 50 projects (short, medium and long term) which responded to eight key issues that the steering group had identified at the beginning of the project. Most of the projects were deliberately modest in order to ensure that the various stakeholder groups were able to deliver them with limited funds and resources. At this point project stakeholders agreed which stakeholder groups should lead each project and this was identified in the report. One of the recommendations was for the re-launch of the Aylsham Traders as Aylsham Business and Enterprise Forum, which was implemented in early 2012.

In March 2012 BDC Cabinet signed off the report and encouraged officers at BDC to ensure that the projects were delivered.