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Glad to be back: the team from local growers Sunrise Gardens and Nurseries.

Street life: Kings Road market returns

The popular Kings Road Market in St Leonards returned this weekend after a two-year break. Chris Connelley was there to search out a bargain and speak to stall-holders, and also take the snaps.

Fears that 1 April snowstorms would thwart the return of the Kings Road Market proved unfounded as a warm sun shone in St Leonards for its first outing in two years.

“We have delivered.” Market founder and manager Anton Burton-Windsor.A relieved market founder and manager Anton Burton-Windsor admitted, “It’s been a long haul and a very tough time but we promised we’d be back and we have delivered.”

The market will run on the first Saturday of the month from 10am until 4pm through until December, offering a mix of fashion, food, vintage, lifestyle and specialist craft products to beguile the most discerning shopper, with spectacular themed markets planned in July to coincide with the annual St Leonards Festival and on 26 November for the Frost Fair and festive lights turn-on.

Virginia Vilela, whose Made by Virginia craft stall has been a staple since the market began back in 2014, said, “I am pleased to be back and after just a few hours, it feels like I have never been away.”

The team from local growers Sunrise Gardens and Nurseries were similarly upbeat, welcoming the chance to reconnect with local residents, having had to start their business all over again after Covid. Vanessa Humm commented, “It has been great. As soon as the stall went up, people came up to see what was going on”.

New trader Ruth McSmart, from cult food business Cheese-on–sea, who already runs a weekly stall at the Friday Farmers Market outside Tommy’s Pizzas on Norman Road, echoed the sentiment: “Kings Road is a great location, right by the station and in the heart of the town, and we’ve had lots of interest in our amazing cheeses.”

First occupant of the community stall: Christine Cheverall of the Make and Mend team at the Common Room in Hastings.

The Kings Road Market has always had a strong community feel, and this year there’s a regular community stall as one of the attractions. Occupying it for its first outing was Christine Cheverall, from the Make and Mend team at the Common Room in Hastings, which also runs the hire club, the Library of Things, where tools and specialist equipment can be borrowed for short periods. “These days allow us to share what we do with a wide audience and to sign up interested people with a little bit of spare time as volunteers.”

April also sees the start of the annual local Arts Council funded festival, A Town Explores a Book, which celebrates a different novel each year, and Erica Smith, sometime of this parish, was busy promoting the 2022 title, Rumer Godden’s 1970s The Diddakoi, at another community stall. “What’s not to like,” she joked, “It’s the weekend and we are out celebrating reading, art and community in the beautiful Spring sunshine.”

By mid afternoon, Anton Burton-Windsor had a broad smile on his face as he relaxed with a well-earned pot of tea outside Remy’s cafe. “We did it. St Leonards has its market back and we’’ll be expanding the offer big time as we go into summer”. He also added that pitches are still available – interested parties are invited to apply online.

One market down, eight to go. See you on Kings Road next month.

Cheese specialist Ruth McSmart.

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Posted 20:04 Sunday, Apr 3, 2022 In: Local Economy

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