WITH the cutting of a ribbon by Cllr Nina Shields, chairman of Ledbury Town Council, the October Fair was declared officially open on Monday, and the Rogers Funfair family were welcomed back to the town.

A town council spokesman said: "Once the ribbon was cut, with the help of the Carnival Princesses, and our Town Crier had announced the opening of the fair, things soon got into full swing. The fair has been a great success with well over 1,000 attending the opening night and almost as large a crowd on Tuesday."

Cllr Shields added: “As always, it was a terrific show and the numbers attending the event speak for themselves.

“My thanks to everyone who helped, both with the entertainment and with keeping us all safe. Most of all I want to thank the Rogers family who as always, excelled themselves organising a spectacular array of rides and stalls. Their partnership with the town goes back for generations and it is a real privilege to be part of this continuing tradition."

She added: “Our volunteers did an excellent job. There were more this year than in many previous years with stewards volunteering from the council, Rotary and the allotments society.

“The days when as amateurs, we could cover all requirements have long gone. The regulations on health and safety and the requirements for permission to close roads have become more exacting. This year we employed a road management company to ensure appropriate warning for motorists and to direct traffic away from the town centre. We implemented this change on the advice of the emergency services and Balfour Beatty, both for safety reasons and because we wanted to avoid the many complaints received in the past from road users."

Professional help was also brought on for another purpose.

Cllr Shields said: "“Following the good example of this year’s carnival, we have employed a team of qualified medical personnel to assist in case of accidents or sudden illness. In addition we reviewed child safeguarding issues so that we could make suitable arrangements for any child becoming separated from their parents."

The charter for the fair goes back to the middle ages. Queen Elizabeth 1 renewed the charter in 1584.

Cllr Shields added: “Of course, the world has moved on but regulation is nothing new. The vast majority of public events of any size now require a professional approach to their organisation. Yes, there are costs involved but this will not prevent the usual allocation of grants from the ‘fair money’.

"We must put safety first for all our residents, our visitors and our partners in this, the Rogers family.”