On Sunday, 27th November, the Westgate Community Trust, together with local artists and crafts people, musicians, community organisations and food producers, will open the doors of Westgate Hall and invite Canterbury’s community to enjoy us for our second Grand Christmas Fayre.

What a difference a year makes!  Last year the Trust was proving the case for saving the former drill hall and transforming it into Canterbury’s community hall.  This year, thanks to the Council’s decision on 27th July to grant the Trust a 99-year lease, the Hall is here for us all to enjoy for another 100 years.


In this spirit, we will take the opportunity of the Fayre to share how refurbishment plans for the building are moving along and outline our fund raising initiatives for the future.  These will include how the community can be involved.

For Christmas our community project will be painting tiles to decorate one of the walls in the Hall’s future café.  Dedicated to commemorating the community energy that resulted in the Council’s thrilling decision this summer, its provisional name will be: 2011: Community gave the Westgate Hall another 100 years.  For £5 a tile, all are invited to display creativity and share what the Hall means and will mean for the community.  Catherine and Jean from Espression Café will provide the tiles and share their knowledge and skill.  Profits will be allocated to our Hall Transition Fund.

To this end, we will also be selling Liz Findlay’s sparkling Westgate Hall Christmas card as well as our Save Westgate Hall jute shopping bags, made possible thanks to the generous donation of Scott Curtis and David Godwin of Godwin Curtis estate agents.

As for the Fayre itself, as last year, the Hall will be transformed into a market square with tables set up café style.  Stalls will sell Christmas gifts and decorations, handmade jewellery, notebooks, bunting, cushions, chocolates, truffles – the variety and originality are endless.

Children will have multiple temptations.  Father Christmas is visiting and will be in residence in his grotto, ready for a heart-to-heart.  Canterbury City Council Children’s Play activities team – our thanks to them for their time and collaboration — will stimulate imaginations; creating bracelets and Christmas decorations will be possible at a table nearby.  And for those who love a good Christmas Pantomime Stage Spiders Children’s Theatre will present Peter Pan at 14.30.

And for the older ‘children’, a game of scrabble will provide brain teasing.

Paul Babra is joining us with his Canterbury Curry Club with his delicious curries and savoury snacks to keep us going when hunger sets in. For those with a sweet tooth there will be delicious cakes and may be even handmade chocolates. And we will be selling Kent Crisps and local spiced apple juice from Pawley Farm, to keep us all warm.

As for our community groups, we are delighted to be collaborating with the Pensioners’ Forum, the Canterbury Hospital League of Friends, and the Motor Neuron Disease Association.

Music will lift our spirits throughout the afternoon.  Members of the much-loved Beverley Big Band, playing as 5 Star Swing, will set our toes tapping at 11, UKC Musical Theatre will perform songs from musicals at 12, Cal Hewitt, one amazing boy and his guitar, will play classic rock songs at 12.45, Richard Navarro will present a selection of his compositions and popular covers ranging from jazz to children’s songs at 13.30, and the afternoon will end with a rousing sing-along of favourite Christmas carols at 15.15.