Appleby Horse Fair - First 24 hours
Appleby Horse Fair began yesterday (8 June, 2017) and, despite the wet weather, was met with a friendly, positive atmosphere.
Once again, bowtops and trailers (caravans) being allowed on to Fair Hill early greatly reduced the volume of traffic on surrounding roads and helped ensure motorists and members of the public were safe around the Fair.
Overnight there were very few incidents, with the overwhelming majority of people enjoying the Fair in good spirits.
The Community Advisory Group had their first meeting last night in Appleby, with members attending from both the local and travelling communities to discuss the Fair so far and to provide feedback for the Multi Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG) who work to improve the safety of the Fair each year.
The feedback was positive, with the general consensus being that the Fair had begun well for all concerned.
Dr Robin Hooper, Chair of MASCG and Chief Executive of Eden District Council said:
“Despite the poor weather yesterday, the holiday feeling of the event was once again in evidence. The early effort from everyone involved in MASCG saw a low-level of early arrivals. Combined with early migration onto Fair Hill, we have seen a positive opening to the Fair.
“I’d particularly like to thank our colleagues at the RSPCA for the excellent work they have carried out so far.
“Today there will be a great many people around the Fair, with fast-moving horses. We would appeal to people to be aware and stay safe.
“I’d also ask those attending the Fair this weekend to respect the town and the local community and to use the bins provided or take your rubbish home with you.”
Billy Welch, a Gypsy and Traveller representative on MASCG, said:
“We’ve seen a good start to the fair and, with dryer weather expected today, everyone is ready to enjoy themselves. We will all continue to work together to make sure this year’s fair is enjoyable and safe for everyone involved.
“Everything is going like clockwork and the police are doing a brilliant job.
“I would just ask that people use their common sense around horses to avoid the possibility of injuries – both Gypsies and Travellers and people from the settled community.”
Temporary Chief Superintendent Mark Pannone of Cumbria Police, said:
“The feedback from the community and from Gypsies and Travellers after the first day has been extremely positive. We do take all feedback we receive into consideration and constantly work to ensure that the policing of the event is acceptable to all parties.
“Our number one priority throughout the Fair is to make sure everyone involved stays safe. With that in mind, I would like to advise people to be aware of fast-moving horses, particularly in the flashing lane, Sands and Battlebarrow.
“We also continue to ask motorists travelling in and around Appleby to drive with caution, to please slow down and allow more time for your journeys.
“Finally, I’d like to again make people aware that they are likely to see armed police officers alongside unarmed colleagues in Appleby for the duration of the Fair. This is in keeping with the police strategy nationally at this time, particularly around large events. People should not be alarmed by this and, if you do have concerns, speak to our officers and they will happily talk to you about our policing of the Fair.”
The RSPCA asks that people do not bring dogs to the Fair due to the possible impact on horses.
RSPCA Chief Inspector Rob Melloy said: “Each year we ask that people do not bring dogs to the Fair. Dogs can result in hoses becoming “spooked”, which makes their behaviour unpredictable and can lead to injuries.
“We would also urge people not to leave dogs in cars. The temperature in such enclosed spaces can rise dramatically in a short space of time with tragic results.”
Please keep up to date with the latest messages about Appleby Fair at www.applebyfair.org or via Twitter @Applebyfair or Facebook.