AN annual celebration that attracts hundreds of visitors to Barnard Castle faces an uncertain future after one of its main organisers resigned.
Last month’s Barnard Castle Meet could be the last after Thom Robinson resigned from his voluntary position as secretary on the organising committee, which has experienced a dwindling membership over the last few years.
Mr Robinson has helped to organise for the Meet for 12 years, after first getting involved when he was 15-years-old.
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He described his resignation as a relief and said: “I have organised about 90 per cent of this year’s event and it has caused a massive amount of stress.
“I have started to grow resentful of it.
“It has taken weeks and weeks out of my year. My personal business has suffered greatly because of it and I don’t have a social life.”
Mr Robinson also criticised a lack of support from businesses in the town, many of which, he said, benefitted greatly from the event.
He added: “I have got two other jobs and I am also a town councillor, school governor and leader of the Green party.
“I couldn’t do what I have done this year again.”
Tom Deacon, the committee’s interim chairman, appealed for volunteers to come forward and help the few remaining committee members to organise next year’s Meet, which would be the 130th anniversary of the event.
He said: “I want to find a way to keep the Meet going.
“The loss of Thom from the committee is devastating because he is probably one of the hardest working people I know.
“He works day and night on various things for the community and doesn’t get half the recognition he deserves.
“I would love people who have the Meet’s best interests at heart to come forward.
“When members join the committee, they can do a lot or a little – every little bit helps.
“We would ask that people do it for the love of The Meet.”
The first Barnard Castle Meet took place in 1885.
Ever year, the event offers a wide range of entertainment for families and visitors in the town, including sports tournaments, live music, fancy dress, fun fairs, games and children’s activities.
Dozens of community groups, schools and individuals take part in a carnival procession through the town centre to mark the final day of the event.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Meet’s organising committee should call Tom Deacon on 07941-505094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.