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Rachel Rook takes over running of Iwade Farmers' Market

By Andy Gray

An Iwade mum who has taken over the running of the village market has vowed to make it more family-friendly.

Rachel Rook, Cormorant Road, said by accepting the role, on a personal level at least, she was treading new ground.

Iwade resident Rachel Rook
Iwade resident Rachel Rook

She said: “I haven’t done anything like this before, so it’s a big challenge.

“I didn’t want the market to go and I was asked by the village hall community to get involved.

“I don’t think many other people came forward, so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Mrs Rook’s elevation to market manager follows the resignation of previous incumbent, Steve Theobald.

Mr Theobald, 53, ran the monthly operation for two years, but blamed dwindling visitor numbers on his decision to quit.

He said: “The general consensus of people in the village and surrounding areas is that they didn’t want the type of farmers’ market we were trying to run.

Market organiser Steve Theobald
Market organiser Steve Theobald

“We built up some really good footfalls and quality markets, but over the following months the footfall dipped.

“We weren’t getting enough people down there to make it viable.

“The type of stalls we had were quality farmers’ market stalls, all of it rare breed meat, which wasn’t cheap.”

Queenborough resident Mr Theobald runs 25 to 30 markets a month across Kent.

He said he was “disappointed” the Iwade venture didn’t eventually succeed and added: “A lot of time and effort goes into a market, and everyone involved wanted it to work.

“But if after two years, if you haven’t cracked it, something isn’t quite right somewhere.”

Mum-of-two, Mrs Rook, 35, said under her stewardship the market will be every two months, instead of monthly.

The Iwade Farmers' Market
The Iwade Farmers' Market

She said: “We’re hoping by having stalls aimed at children it will encourage more families to come along.

“They’ll be able to enjoy bouncy castles and face painting, and at the moment, I’m trying to contact as many stall holders as possible.”

The next market is due to take place at the village hall from 10am to 1pm on Sunday, June 8.

Anyone interested in running a stall, should email Mrs Rook at iwademarket@outlook.com

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