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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Ambitious Cumbrian teenager organises town centre markets

A teenager who has only just finished sitting exams is embarking on his latest challenge – organising a town centre market.

Luke Johnston photo
Luke Johnston

Sixteen-year-old Luke Johnston will see his hard work pay off a week tomorrow when the first of three extended markets takes place in Whitehaven.

The Whitehaven Academy student called the town’s current market an “embarrassment” and said he wanted to revive the interest among traders and shoppers.

Luke, who launched the Visit Whitehaven website last year following the closure of the town’s tourist information centre, has been involved in organising a shop local day. Unfortunately last year’s event was unsuccessful due to a torrential downpour.

“The shop local day went terribly wrong because of the weather, so I thought I would give it one more go,” said the teenager.

“Whitehaven market is dead. When I last walked through there was a man selling a few clothes and another couple of stalls. It is embarrassing as a lot of roads have to be closed for just three stalls.”

As well as having around 15 stalls – all west Cumbrian traders – he has also organised entertainment, including dance groups and theatre performances for his three events.

Glitter Cumbria has also signed up to provide children’s entertainment including face painting and mascots.

The feedback Luke has received from businesses and the public has been “fantastic” he said.

“People coming into the town for the market will give their custom to local businesses as well,” added Luke.

Luke, who has just sat his GCSE exams, approached Copeland Council and has been working with them to arrange the markets.

He will also hold a raffle at the event – which will be drawn by Copeland MP Jamie Reed – and Luke is deciding which charity will benefit from the proceeds.

The other two markets will be held on August 9 and September 13.

Any traders interested in attending can contact Luke on 07927 983664. Stalls cost £10 each.

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