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'Plenty still going on' after upset over cancellation of Bishop's Castle Michaelmas Fair

Disappointment at the sudden cancellation of Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair this weekend is being replaced by determination to promote events still happening in the town.

The Michaelmas Fair usually pulls in big crowds to Bishop's Castle
The Michaelmas Fair usually pulls in big crowds to Bishop's Castle

Organisers decided on Monday to cancel Saturday's event - a decision that has been criticised by some as being not what the Queen would have wanted.

Lin Dalton, one of the key people at the town's Weighbridge Railway Museum, was as disappointed as many people with the decision to cancel.

But she is keen to stress that there will be plenty going on in Bishop's Castle on Saturday, including a special day at the weighbridge museum.

The organisers of the Michaelmas Fair have also posted on their Facebook page that there are a number of events, including music, still happening run by local businesses "who would appreciate your support. We will post more information as we have it."

The Shropshire Star has approached the organisers of the Michaelmas Fair for comment.

Mrs Dalton said: "Thanks to everyone for supporting our decision to open the Weighbridge Railway Museum as planned on Saturday. Let us all get out and about in the town on Saturday, support the people who are going to do something, and do what Bishop`s Castle does best POPUP EVENTS!"

Mrs Dalton said the Weighbridge Museum was "totally shocked" at the Michaelmas fair's cancellation and was "not expecting it."

"We knew the committee was meeting but once it was known that the funeral would be on Monday, we could not see a reason for cancelling," she said.

"They haven't exactly said what the reason is, apart from that they haven't got the full support of the council, the church and the community. But the community is saying that they were not asked. People haven't been asked."

Mrs Dalton understands that there will be plenty of events in Bishop's Castle at the weekend and wants to encourage people to continue to come to the town.

On Saturday the Weighbridge Museum will have model railways and steam rollers on site.

Mrs Dalton said there may also be the chance to see steam engines in the town and music in local pubs.

"People have booked B&Bs in the town especially," she said. "And I know they will still be coming."

Henry Hunter at the town's prominent Castle Hotel said: "Obviously we are disappointed the official Michaelmas Fair has been cancelled this year but we will still be hosting live music in our gardens!" Bands will be on from 2pm to 8pm.

Mr Hunter added: "Let’s celebrate the Michaelmas and the life of a wonderful women who served our country for over 70 years."

There will also be a collection of steam engines in the town, supplied by Alastair Evans at Ranfords, in Bishop's Castle. They can be seen at the timber specialists in Station Street from 10am. Mr Evans did not wish to comment on the decision to cancel the Michaelmas Fair.

In a statement on their website and Facebook the organisers of Bishop's Castle's Michaelmas Fair say they have not taken the decision lightly but some crucial elements of the event have been affected by the current period of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II.

Huge disappointment has been expressed on the event's Facebook page. There was also some appreciation of the work that volunteers put in to the event and that it must have been a difficult decision.

One commenter wrote: "Whilst important to be respectful to the Queen it’s equally important to be respectful to the small businesses of Bishops Castle, who by now will have likely incurred costs in preparation and are surely in need of the boost that the Michaelmas Fair would have given them more than ever before."

Another person received support when she said: "Utterly ridiculous. Ask the people of Bishops Castle if they want it cancelled I bet the majority won't."

Another critic added that even though she was disappointed she wants to add – "thank you to those who have been working hard on organising the fair."

But another commenter said they had already paid £700 on coming to Bishop's Castle for the weekend, which they can't get a refund for.

In a statement the organisers said that they had taken the decision after consulting with the town council, church and community.

"After careful consideration and as mark and love and respect for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Michaelmas Fair will not go ahead this year.

"This decision to cancel at this very late stage has not been taken lightly- some crucial elements of the fair have been affected due to the current period of national mourning. The Fair is a community event and can’t go ahead without the support of the full community."

The spokesman said a huge amount of time and care had gone into the organisation of the fair this year with a new committee and added "we know the effects of cancelling will be felt".

A lantern procession will be reorganised for later in the autumn.

The Michaelmas Fair was first set up in 1995 by a small group of local people after the Steam Fair relocated from Bishop's Castle to Shrewsbury.

The Steam Fair was always held on August Bank Holiday so it was decided to hold this new event in mid September. Traditionally the Michaelmas Fair was at the end of the harvest when farm workers were looking for their next contract and rents had to be paid.

The event is run by a small volunteer committee who meet throughout the year plus another 60 local people who help on the day.

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