SHOPPERS, traders and visitors took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate their town becoming the first in the county to become a Fairtrade town. Hundreds of people visited Hitchin Market Square where they were greeted by stalls selling Fairtrade goods,
SHOPPERS, traders and visitors took to the streets on Saturday to celebrate their town becoming the first in the county to become a Fairtrade town.
Hundreds of people visited Hitchin Market Square where they were greeted by stalls selling Fairtrade goods, a fashion show demonstrating Fairtrade clothes and a chef who was cooking products displaying the Fairtrade logo.
The day had been organised to promote the range of goods available in the town which contain the Fairtrade logo. It was the culmination of a year's work by the Hitchin Fairtrade Steering Group.
To achieve the status the town had to, among other things, set up the steering group and get councillors to introduce Fairtrade goods into their offices and canteens.
Hitchin councillor Martin Stears, one of the steering group's members, said: "The council was unanimous in their accepting this. It was great to see. There have been plenty of people heavily involved with trying to achieve this for the town.
"We held our first meeting in February 2005 and we received an email confirmation of our success in February this year. To get it within a year is a great success.
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"We had great support from the council, and from people like Keith Hoskins at the Hitchin Town Centre Initiative who helped us contact businesses so we could push this."
Hitchin MP Peter Lilley was on hand to present a certificate to the people of the town. This was passed on to Judi Billing, chair of the Hitchin committee.
It will be displayed in the Hitchin Town Centre Initiative office.
Asked why Fairtrade status was important for the town, Cllr Stears said it was "because the people of Hitchin have a long record of support for international issues, as shown in Rhythms of The World just last week.
"Fairtrade is one way of showing that what benefits poorer countries also benefits richer countries. We get good quality goods and they get better prices.