LEDBURY traders bid to continue defying the cost-of-living crisis in 2024 after becoming a "destination town" for Christmas shoppers.

Its range of independent shops has kept pulling in visitors from far and wide, supported by successful late-night shopping and festive market events.

Renaissance Menswear owner Susie McKechnie, chair of Ledbury Traders and Business Association, said: "The trade in Ledbury before Christmas was mainly pretty good and it's always positive.

"It was really busy the week before Christmas. Our late-night Christmas shopping (on the first Friday of December) went really well.

"Getting over the Covid period and now trying to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, it has made retail difficult.

"But, considering everything, we are not in a bad place at all. Ledbury has got a really good high street. It's a destination town.

"The plus for our town is that it is so full of independent shops and that is a real draw.

"There are a few new businesses here too which is great. In many towns there are a lot of empty shops but normally they are filled here pretty quickly.

"We have big footfall from places like Cheltenham, Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester and also from Bromsgrove, Pershore and Droitwich.

"One lady drove from Oxford just to buy something here. There is footfall from Cardiff even.

"And it's not just the retail. There's lots of nice cafés, restaurants and eateries.

"Also a lot of people here shop locally and if we didn't have that then Ledbury wouldn't be what it is. We need people here everyday.

"We have got everything you could possibly need in Ledbury."

The traders are also raising money for their annual charity with sales of mistletoe throughout December going towards Birmingham Children's Hospital.

The Sunday Christmas lights switch-on and market in late November, run by Ledbury Town Council, also proved a success with support from Ledbury Maritime Cadet Unit and also Repair Café Ledbury where the light plunger was fixed in time for the celebrations.

Olivia Trueman, the council's community development officer, said: "It was a really lovely evening and a real community effort.

"All the volunteers were residents or from businesses.

"We had some sponsorship from local businesses which went towards putting on a Santa's grotto and free crafts for kids.

"The rest of the money went towards purchasing gifts for Children In Need in Ledbury from local shops.

"We were really proud that it went so very well."