Generosity galore at Kelso fundraising fair

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The organisers of the annual Presents Galore gift fair are hoping for yet another bumper year in their efforts to raise money for charity.

The Kelso-based event, which started in 1994, has raised around £180,000 for local and national charities in that time.

In addition to the price of stalls, every stallholder contributes 10 per cent of their takings to the charity fund. Entry tickets, refreshments and tombola and raffle also help boost the final total.

Susan Forster from Mounthooley founded the event, and now organises it along with a small committee.

She told the Southern: “This year we have over 50 stallholders, with some coming over from Ireland, one from Kent, another from Sussex and one from London.”

Mrs Forster estimates that on average the event raises £10,000 a year for charity.

This year the charities to benefit are the Injured Jockeys Fund, NSPCC and the Yarrow and Etal Riding for the Disabled Associations.

Gifts of all kinds will be available at the event, which is ideal for a bit of Christmas shopping.

“There will be food products, pottery, jewellery, clothes and lots more - there really is something for everyone,” Mrs Forster said.

The organisation of the event starts in January, and continues right up until the event itself, with the committee even organising accommodation for the stallholders, no doubt one of the reasons why so many return year after year to the event.

“I feel we have a really good name throughout the countryside, and everybody seems to say ‘you have to go to Kelso because it is such a friendly fair’.

Committee member Miranda McRae praised Mrs Forster for all her efforts over the years.

She said: “Susan is just an enormously kind person. She set it up all those years ago and works incredibly hard on it every year. She puts a great deal of money into it from her own pocket too.

“The stallholders come from far and wide each year to support it. A lot of effort goes into the organisation of the event each year and the money goes to such good causes.

“None of it would be possible without Susan’s hard work over so many years.”

Presents Galore takes place on Monday, October 7 from 6pm to 8.30pm. Tickets (£6) include canapes and a glass of wine. It runs 10am to 3.30pm the following day, with tickets £3.50.