Westoe Village Fete returns to South Shields - with thousands raised for local charities

Residents revelled in the return of Westoe Village Fete as families enjoyed a fun-filled day of craft stalls, music, food and sunshine.

The much-loved annual event also raised an estimated £2,000 for charities including South Tyneside Hospital Radio, Hospitality and Hope food bank and soup kitchen, a women’s refuge.

In addition to the donation of stall fees, a range of other charities including Cancer Research UK, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the RAF Association, were also selling trinkets and collecting donations.

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Organiser and chairwoman of the village’s Residents’ Association, Deborah Challis, 45, said: “It’s a really important event to raise money for local charities and it has been an excellent turn out.

Westoe Village Fair - were you there?

"It’s a real community event and it’s great to see people able to get out again and socialise.”

After the cancellation of last year’s event due to Covid restrictions, Deborah was determined to ensure this year’s event would go ahead.

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She added: “It was devastating that last year’s fete could not go ahead and the charities lost so much income.

"The event would normally take place in June but we decided to move it to September to give it the best chance of it happening.”

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Residents' Association Chairwoman, Deborah Challis, with children Nancy Bloxham, 15, and Egie Bloxham, 11.
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People could enjoy a range of stalls selling cakes, plants and crafts, all while being entertained by the Colours Steel Band and South Tyneside Hospital Radio.

One of the most popular products was the range of hand-made chutneys, jams and relishes from Mrs Scott’s Preserves.

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Creator Cheryl Scott said: “It was awful not to be able to take part last year and it’s nice to see the community out and together again.”

Deborah Challis and some of the Duke of Edinburgh Award helping at Westoe Village Fair.
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Caroline Corkin, who was selling a range of paintings decorated with recycled sea glass, added: “It’s fantastic to see everyone out and about enjoying themselves. The paintings have had a really good response and it’s great to raise money for charity.”

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Ladies from the St Michael and All Angels Church Social Committee were selling a range of knitwear they had created during lockdown to raise money for the church.

Hazel Davies, 78, said: “We’ve been coming here every year and it’s great to be back. As well as raising money for charity, it’s a great community event.”

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South Tyneside mayor, Cllr Pat Hay, visiting her 49th Westoe Village Fete.

For married couple Dave and Christine Gibson, the fete marked the first time since the onset of the pandemic they’d been out to a busy public event.

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Dave, 71, said: “I’m classed as vulnerable and this is the first time we’ve been in crowd. We come here every year and it’s great to see so many people here after what we’ve all been through.

"Last year’s cancellation was disappointing – it’s a big miss.”

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Special guest at the fete was South Tyneside mayor, Cllr Pat Hay, who is also a resident of the village.

She said: “This is the 49th Westoe Village Fete and I’ve been to every single one. It’s lovely to be here and to see so many people out and back together after what we’ve been through in the last 18 months.

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"This event plays a vital role in supporting local charities and the organisers do an excellent job.”

Cheryl Scott with her selection of jam and chutney at Westoe Village Fair.
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Since 2005 the fete has raised nearly £33,000 for charity.

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The Colours Steel Band entertain families at the Westoe Village Fete.
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Jacob West enjoys the Jurassic experience at Westoe Village Fair.