Community-minded couple to launch Christmas event

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Community-minded couple Carol and Gordon Pringle are set to bring a festive feel to town with a Christmas edition of the biannual Ilkeston food Fair.

The fair, which has been steadily gathering momentum and recognition since its launch in 2014, will provide an area for local traders to showcase their produce – something which is very important to the husband and wife team.

Gordon and Carol Pringle, organisers of the Ilkeston Food and Drink Fair.

Gordon and Carol Pringle, organisers of the Ilkeston Food and Drink Fair.

Carol, 52, said: “Ilkeston is in great need of regeneration and this event is a great community event bringing everyone together, and supports local businesses branching out. 
“This special Christmas-edition event will have a real festive feel, and we hope it will put a smile on people’s faces.”

The fair will take place on December 11, at Ilkeston Rugby Club, and will have something to keep all the family entertained. 
It will be opened by The Long Eaton Silver Prize Band followed by Christmas carols from the Imari Ladies Choir, a host of food and drink from all corners of the world will be on offer including real ale, an English vodka maker, and pickles and preserves.

There will be performances from Ilkeston Youth Theatre, songwriter Megan Kelsey, and an appearance from Masterchef finalist Pete Hewitt.

The one and only Santa Claus will also be on hand to greet youngsters with his reindeer.

Car parking will cost £1 with proceeds being donated to local Scouts and Guides. The entry fee is £1 and all proceeds will go to the Brain Tumour Charity – a cause close to Carol and Gordon’s heart. The duo lost a friend in August, just five months after diagnosis and are now on a mission to raise as much cash for the charity as possible.

Carol and Gordon are extremely passionate about bringing the community together for a good cause, and hope this event will welcome even more than ever before.

The pair have always shared a love of good food. Carol completed her HND in Hotel Catering and Institutional management in Cheltenham and has worked in the industry most of her life.

And Gordon has run his own cafe The Rutland Cafe for the past 12 years. Having been inspired by the Derby Summer Market and the Belper Food Festival, the Ilkeston Food Fair seemed a natural progression for the two.

Gordon, 53, said: “We wanted to showcase the brilliant artisan producers in Ilkeston and the surrounding areas and create a positive image for our town.”

Gordon has lived in Ilkeston since he was 11 and wants to bring it back to what it once was.

He said: “I remember when we used to go up Bath Street and you would have to step off the kerb to get past people, you’d risk your life nearly getting hit by a bus.” When he was 15 he started working as a waiter at the Regency Rooms at the former Co-op.

“It was packed out every Thursday and Friday, there’s nothing like that now.

He then went on to sell chicken in Saudi Arabia, followed by a stint in Dubai for a transport company.

He and Carol married in 2012 but first met when they were 16 and pupils at Ilkeston Grammar School. They dated in their teens but parted ways when Carol moved away for university, before reuniting nine years ago. He has two daughters Isobel and Kensie, stepson Ben and stepdaughter Ellie.

His hopes for the fair are for it to be something that people come to the town for.

He said: “It’s not about ourselves, we put a lot of work in but it’s about having something that people can recognise Ilkeston for.”

Carol added: “It’s especially important that the event be something the community can enjoy and celebrate – but at the same time helping raise cash for an incredibly worthy charity.”

For more information about the event visit: www.ilkestonfoodfair.co.uk.