Prospective MPs show support as Christmas fair raises funds for fight against traveller site

Residents raised nearly £600 towards their fight against a proposed travellers transit site with a Christmas fair in Wolverhampton.

Parliamentary candidates Eleanor Smith, right, and Stuart Anderson, dressed as Father Christmas, left. Photo: Lesley Stamps
Parliamentary candidates Eleanor Smith, right, and Stuart Anderson, dressed as Father Christmas, left. Photo: Lesley Stamps

St Peter's Ward Residents held the three-hour event at Wolverhampton Racecourse, near the proposed traveller site off Dunstall Hill's Gorsebrook Road, which brought in £581 towards legal fees and other associated costs.

Two parliamentary candidates in Thursday's General Election showed their support, with Conservative Stuart Anderson dressing up as Father Christmas and Labour's Eleanor Smith also attending the free event.

The dozens of people who attended on Saturday could purchase samosas, Christmas decorations such as wreaths, Christmas eve boxes and plates, perfumes, hand-made crafts and toiletries from the Body Shop.

The St Peter's Ward Residents's Christmas fair at Wolverhampton Racecourse. Photo: Leigh Sanders

Gemma Taylor and Lesley Stamps, who were the main organisers, said they were happy at the turnout but wished they had had longer to organise it so they could have promoted it better.

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A raffle proved hugely popular, as did a tombola full of DVDs, toiletries, children's games and sweets, while the organisers also discussed the ongoing campaign against the transit camp.

Ms Taylor said: "This will go towards paying our solicitor for the work they've done so far. We want to show we aren't just sitting back and want to try and match the support from local businesses.

"We need £2,000 for the legal work so far and we're expecting the bill in the new year so keep your eyes peeled for a few more events before now and then. If we want it to go all the way, then we'll probably need about £5,000."

An aerial view showing the land off Gorsebrook Road in Wolverhampton. Photo: Google

The land off Gorsebrook Road has been allocated as a transit site where traveller families can stay for up to 28 days in a move that has prompted fury among residents.

The group launched their campaign saying they fear it will damage the environment and lead to increased crime and congestion for residents and businesses - a claim disputed by Wolverhampton Council’s environment boss Steve Evans.

Away from the campaign, Ms Taylor added that they hoped they could make this an annual event for local residents to keep in touch and build on the camaraderie shown since the proposed site came to light.

"We'd just like to raise money for the community as a whole in future," she added.

"Everyone has come together and made friends and little groups so we'd like to keep that going and keep everyone talking to each other.

"We'll do the same next year and hopefully raise some more cash towards a summer event like a summer fair or street party which everyone can come to and have a good time."

For more on the campaign group and for updates on future fundraising activities, visit the St Peter's Ward Residents Facebook page.

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