COMMUNITY leaders are urging residents to support a town’s historic market as it fights back in the battle against out-of-town shopping and economic uncertainty.

Bedale was first granted its market charter more than 860 years ago and it has been a focal point of trade in the town ever since.

The town council, which took over responsibility for the market from Hambleton District Council in 2006, wants to secure the event’s future for generations to come.

Budding entrepreneurs are being offered the chance to test their selling skills with a trial market stall price of just £11 per day.

Mayor Amanda Coates said: “The market is such an important part of the town, we really want to see it being used and improved.

“We have a committed group of traders who brave the weather every week.

"But we want to encourage more traders to come. This really is a unique chance for people to put their commercial ideas to the test, for the price of less than a round of drinks.

“We’re also asking local people to use the market to come and see what is on offer."

Some traders have worked the town’s market for decades.

One of the firmest fixtures is Carrick’s fish stall, which first opened in 1929.

Martin Carrick was an engineer until he gave up his job to work for the family firm. He said: “Bedale has always been a market that has held its own.

“Trade is very consistent, we do tend to get a few more faces in the summer months, but it is a good market.

“People come from all over in the summer and say they wish they had this kind of service.

“For people just starting out this is a good way to promote a product."

Even the market’s superintendent, Phil Matthews, was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started running his own stall selling socks, gloves and slippers, a year ago.

He said: "Most of the traders are local people, who live within a few miles although some come from further afield, for the shopper it is good value because of our low costs and minimum travelling expenses we can keep the prices down.”

For more information, call Mr Matthews, on 07894-599-765, or town clerk Richard Howard on 01677-427949 (Mondays and Thursdays). Email