Fairtraders’ big day

1st birthday: Sandra Perkins, Tiffany Hunt and Bruce Crowther
1st birthday: Sandra Perkins, Tiffany Hunt and Bruce Crowther

Fairtraders in Garstang marked the anniversary celebrations of the world’s first international Fairtrade visitors’ centre with the unveiling of a new heritage museum and exhibition.

Heritage Lottery Fund representative Tiffany Hunt and Garstang Mayor Sandra Perkins officially opened the £33,000 heritage museum at the centre.

The landmark came one year after the opening of the Fig Tree and 11 years after Garstang became the world’s first-ever Fairtrade Town.

A signing ceremony was also held for a special declaration due to be presented to United Nations, pledging the town’s continuing commitment to the cause up until 2015.

Executive director of the Fig Tree and fairtrade pioneer Bruce Crowther invited a number of guests for the special preview of the displays helped put together by Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.

He said it had involved a lot of hard work by volunteers to get the project off the ground but hoped the museum would be another success for Garstang.

He said: “I am so proud of the work that has been put into the heritage museum.

It has been a massive learning curve but now to see the plaques and displays in place - it is incredible what we have achieved.”

Mr Crowther added further plans are in place for the lottery grant including an interactive exhibition, educational resources, promotional materials and guided tours.

The museum is centred around the three heritage themes: fair trade and Fair Trade Towns, the slave trade and the founding of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). North West Heritage Lottery committee member Tiffany Hunt said: “It is a real pleasure to have contributed funding to such a project like this - it looks fantastic.

“All those involved with the Garstang fairtrade movement should be immensely proud this is a great asset and of huge significance for the town.”

Mayor Sandra Perkins said it was a ‘great honour’ to put her signature to the declaration, which will be signed by mayors across the world.

She said: “I am signing as the chairman of the town council but more importantly on behalf of our wonderful town.”