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Market traders defy snow

PUBLISHED: 14:59 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:06 07 July 2010

Despite the bitterly cold start to the day, Fakenham's weekly market went ahead today - although only four stallholders managed to open for business.

One of the handful of hardy traders who defied the wintry conditions was greengrocer Gerald Benbow.

Despite the bitterly cold start to the day, Fakenham's weekly market went ahead today - although only four stallholders managed to open for business.

One of the handful of hardy traders who defied the wintry conditions was greengrocer Gerald Benbow.

He said the snow started falling at about 5am, after he had made his journey from home in Briston.

“It was pretty awful,” he said. “It was like a blizzard.

“It was one of those days where you think: 'Shall we, shan't we?' You don't expect much in this weather, as he older people cannot walk on the side roads and we rely on them for our custom.

“But we have still got regular customers who we have to serve 52 weeks of the year.”

Fakenham's Market Place, usually buzzing with shoppers every Thursday when the market opens, was eerily quiet yesterday, even as the icy roads started to thaw.

Although gritting teams had succeeded in keeping town-centre roads and pavements relatively ice-free, driving conditions on roads leading into Fakenham were very difficult until late morning, and many surrounding villages were inaccessible to buses.

Mr Benbow, whose family also runs grocers' stores in Fakenham and Holt, said: “It has been just about worthwhile for us. The fresh vegetables are quite hard to come by in these conditions.”

t The wintry weather has forced the cancellation of the presentation evening for the Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival.

The event was due to be held at Fakenham Parish Church at 7.30pm on Friday. More than £23,000 raised at the December festival was to be distributed among the 75 charities which took part. The rector of Fakenham, the Rev Adrian Bell, said the donations will now be sent by post.

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