SHOPPERS enjoyed free entertainment as they made their way around Darlington town centre today (Sunday) as a free busking festival made its debut.

The Busking in Blackwellgate event, organised by local trader Beryl Hankin, was one of a series of activities in the town, including the popular Sunday People’s Market.

With an Americana theme, the buskers included Ron Howe and Friends, Gary Grainger, professional Elvis Presley impersonator Kidd Kreole, Willow Creek and Creepy Uncle.

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Mrs Hankin, who runs the Guru store in Blackwellgate, has been involved with a number of schemes to attract shoppers to the town.

She said: “We all love music and the market and we wanted to cheer the town up. All these performers are really good and they’ve donated their talents to us today.”

Mrs Hankin said she was hoping to make the busking festival a regular event if there were enough acts to take part.

A pancake flipping contest, held to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, also attracted the crowds at the Sunday People’s Market, with Darlington Borough Council leader Bill Dixon and Mayor Charles Johnson facing each other over the hot plate.

Coun Dixon was the clear winner after Coun Johnson made his pancake too thick, which made flipping difficult.