As you’ve seen from our poster, 1955 lives on! Our sights are set on Sunday, 5th December, and our Grand Christmas Fayre!

As last summer’s Big Lunch demonstrated, reinforcing community through celebration underpins our efforts to save the Westgate Hall as a community centre. Our Christmas Fayre will build on that festive spirit. From noon, friends, family and neighbours will be able to spend an afternoon shopping for Christmas gifts from local artists and jewellers, eat Christmas goodies, learn about other community groups, and enjoy performances by local musicians ranging in style from classical guitar to jazz to gospel.

And to underline the Christmas spirit of giving and show what community collaboration and partnership can achieve, we will have two wonderful items for sale that have been created to support the Trust efforts to save the Westgate Hall.

Trust artist, Liz Findlay, has donated her time and creativity to produce two Christmas cards, both interpretations of the Westgate Hall. A single card will cost 50p; a packet of ten, £4.

And then there will be the Trust’s magnificent jute shopping bags emblazoned with Save Westgate Hall in purple. These will be on sale for £5.

There’s a great story behind these bags. They have come into being thanks to the hugely generous donation of £500 from Canterbury’s estate agents, David Godwin and Scott Curtis of Godwin Curtis.

Scott Curtis explained their motivation, “David and I, whilst in business to make a profit and a good living for ourselves, are mindful of our good fortune and feel a moral obligation to assist those less fortunate than ourselves. We like the fact that people have put a lot of effort and time into ensuring a useful local asset is maintained for local use.”

And Scott provided further background, “Canterbury is a magnificent place both to live and visit. I would like to see the city develop in a way that is sympathetic to its history, and traditions (no more ugly flats, please….) and makes it different to many of the other ‘identikit’ towns in the south-east, i.e. plenty of bespoke shops and businesses. It would be great to see the Westgate Hall playing its part as a centre, for example, where small businesses can start at an affordable rent.

I believe that the current economic climate makes it even more important for local businesses and the voluntary sector to collaborate in a spirit of ‘we are all in this together’. My feeling is that one of the positives that may come out of these times is a renewal of locally driven and inspired initiatives such as the Westgate Hall project where people come together to do things for themselves rather than depending on the state or its representatives to do it for them.”

What great trail blazers!