A new stall has opened in Stevenage indoor market, selling flowers, gifts, balloons, craft material and more.

All Occasions, run by Sam Gregory and her family, marked its official opening on Saturday (June 17) with a visit from the Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Myla Arceno.

Their aim is "to provide a professional service for local people, with care and compassion and a friendly face".

"We hope that All Occasions will help attract more people into our local market, with its passionate stall holders and community spirit."

It is a family endeavour led by Sam and her daughter Taylor, with her husband, Dale, and their two sons also involved. Her family have helped out in setting up the new stall, as has Sam's "fantastic" carer Rose.

All Occasions will be supporting a local project, Sanntangle, which aims to make creating art as accessible as possible.

Sanntangle's founder, Sandra Rushton, attended the stall's opening and is described by Sam as a mentor for her.

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Sam says that discovering Sanntangle "changed her life" and improved her mental health, especially after her sister, Trish, tragically collapsed and died in 2020.

Having mobility issues and other disabilities herself, and with several family members also having disabilities, Sam is keen to show that it is possible for people in similar positions to succeed.

"I want to prove that, despite the fear of red tape and everything that could go wrong, you can try and you might succeed.

The Comet: From left to right: Han, Taylor's fiancée; Jacob, Sam's grandson; Taylor; Sam; Mayor Cllr Myla Arceno; and Sandra Rushton.From left to right: Han, Taylor's fiancée; Jacob, Sam's grandson; Taylor; Sam; Mayor Cllr Myla Arceno; and Sandra Rushton. (Image: Stevenage Borough Council)

"At home, I found myself staring into space each and every day and my life had no purpose. My family were struggling too.

"With the shop, we can all support one another in trying to make this work.

"And if anybody out there wants to know what the experience might be like, or just want a friendly face to say hello to, we hope that we can offer that too."

All Occasions is carrying on a family tradition, with the Gregory's having family connections to the market and town centre stretching back decades.

Dale's grandmother, Edna Ann Gregory, was manageress of the caféteria from the 1970s until the 1990s, and her husband, Bill, was town centre caretaker and met Queen Elizabeth II at the official opening in 1959.

Dale's uncle, Steve, was a presence in the market too, owning a bicycle repair shop.