In the market for a relaunch

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THE pitches will be prim and the patter will be polished for Leighton market’s big relaunch this Saturday – it’s up to you to ensure the punters will be plenty.

Celebrating the handover of the 1,100-year-old market to the control of Leighton-Linslade Town Council (LLTC), the event will be punctuated with an array of entertainment and appearances from several dignitaries.

Town mayor, Councillor Alan Brandham, will kick off proceedings in the specially-decorated High Street at 11am when he officially opens the market and this will be followed by live music from a number of local performers (who have yet to be confirmed) and ‘tea cup’ rides for the younger visitors.

There will also be a free raffle where punters will have the chance to win a raft of prizes donated by LLTC and local traders – tickets are available between 9am and 11am on the day or from The White House prior to the event.

The re-launch coincides with National Market Day which was introduced this year by the government on the recommendation of retail expert Mary Portas.

The national day will kick-off Love Your Local Market Fortnight – a campaign that will feature market-based events throughout the country, with the aim to encourage individuals to show support for local markets and traders, and to get more people shopping in the high street.

It is perhaps fitting then, that Leighton Market will be the centre-piece of the town’s bid for the Portas Pilot another collaboration between Portas and the government which invites towns to submit an application for regeneration funds and advice from the expert herself.

The pilot, which is the second instalment of an initiative which debuted in February, will 12 towns handed cheques for £100,000 when the winners are announced in July.

While Leighton’s chances remain slim – there were 370 applications for the original scheme and more expected for the latest one – it is hoped the town’s unique market heritage can help swing the judges’ favour.

“As a market town Leighton has fantastic history and maintains a strong community identity,” said Steve Lain, one of the masterminds behind Leighton’s bid.

“There’s a great community spirit in Leighton where people are very quick to support events, so I urge them all to get behind this bid. It would be lovely to think that the market will still be going in a couple of hundred years’ time.”

For further information about the market re-launch, contact the town council on 01525 631920, email info@leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk or check out details on the website www.leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk.