Thornham ladies bag up thousands for their village

Bag Ladies of Thornham Christmas Fair'Bag Ladies, from left, Lizzie Boal, Chris Berridge and Sue Hardy on the lookout for customers ANL-150212-203923001

Bag Ladies of Thornham Christmas Fair'Bag Ladies, from left, Lizzie Boal, Chris Berridge and Sue Hardy on the lookout for customers ANL-150212-203923001

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The Bag Ladies of Thornham may sound a disreputable lot, but that could not be further from the truth.

However, like bag ladies worldwide, there is no doubting their street-wise credentials when it comes to making the most from the least.

They work hard all year round, as they put it, stitching, knitting, baking and cooking.

Using their collective ingenuity and skills they also turn a hand to anything that will make a profit by re-cycling and re-making whatever useful donated and discarded items come their way such as fabrics and jewellery.

In the past nine years, the group has raised £42,000 to help finance a host of village projects such as the village hall, the church, the kids club, the history society, the playing field and the children’s play area and well as supporting the cricket, football, bowls and indoor sports clubs.

And, at the weekend, the group put on its second annual Winter Gift Fair in the village hall, which featured 24 stalls stocked with all manner of festive goodies.

There was handmade jewellery made out of resin as well as knitted silver and copper wire jewellery, living garden ornaments such as bird sculptures made out of willow and original hand drawn cards for special occasions.

A wood-turner displayed gifts in a range of woods including showcasing his skill with the smallest of items - beautifully turned pens.

And, if that wasn’t enough to whet the appetite for the unusual, the Traditional Rope Company offered a surprising range of every day items reworked in natural fibre rope for both the home and the garden.

Events coordinator, Melanie Venes said: “I choose work of good quality and good design and each year we plan to bring in a variety of new stall-holders.

“Now that we are becoming known there is a waiting list for stalls.”

The first fair raised £1,500 and the group is hoping to double that amount this year.

Soon after the fair opened on the first day the large hall was packed and a constant stream of visitors on both days, combined with the constant rustle and chink of money, suggested they achieved their aim.