The ceremonial start of the 3 Counties Stages Rally brought big crowds to Ledbury at the weekend.

Saturday afternoon (September 16) saw the closure of the High Street as rally cars lined up for the event’s traditional curtain-raiser.

Traders and councillors say the event brought an influx of people to the town, which increased footfall for some businesses but not others.

Ledbury Reporter: Cars line up outside the AlmshousesCars line up outside the Almshouses (Image: Hills Ford 3 Shires Stages)

Patricia Harrison, who runs Ceci Paolo in High Street, said: “Although I wasn’t actually expecting it, Saturday was an extremely good day particularly for the deli and clothing.

“Our takings were well up on the same day last year. This was very gratifying as the High Street was closed from 3pm. We close on Sunday so there was no impact on that day.

“I didn’t attend the rally as I am not really a car person - as evidenced by my rather old Ford Fiesta.

“What I did notice though when I walked through the town on Saturday were the large number of visitors, no doubt brought in by the attraction of the rally.”

Ledbury Reporter: Rally cars outside the iconic Market HouseRally cars outside the iconic Market House (Image: Hills Ford 3 Shires Stages)

It was a different tale for Lara Sysum, who runs Pacific Dove in The Homend.

She said: “We didn’t see any boost unfortunately, In fact we seemed much quieter on the day, probably due to the road closures.

“Although the closure wasn’t until 3pm I think subconsciously a lot of people avoided town because of it.

“Although I didn’t attend the rally myself I heard it was a fantastic event.”

County councillor Stef Simmons said: “Sadly I couldn’t be there for the ceremonial opening on the Saturday afternoon but I have heard nothing but positive comments from those who attended.”

Karen at JB Gaynan & Son said: “The town was very busy on Saturday.

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“I did watch a small part of it and I think it was wonderful. Ledbury really lends itself to this kind of event.

“I wish we could encourage more of this kind of thing. All the local eateries seemed to be very busy. This event is a huge positive for our town I reckon.”

Lindsay Jackson at Ledbury Books & Maps said: “I had a bit of a boost in footfall as people were waiting for the start but then nothing from 3.30pm onwards.

“However, anything that brings people to town has got to be a good thing surely? I had a sneaky watch from the shop door as the start was just outside.”