Referendum call on scrapping horse fair


Changed days: 'Real Romany people are well-liked but are now fewer in numbers'

By Dave Gudgeon

A FORMER Eden councillor has called for Appleby Horse Fair to be scrapped.

Eric Fleming says the behaviour of some of the young people who turn up at Fair Hill is barbaric. And he has rubbished claims that the event brings millions of pounds into the economy of the Eden Valley town.

Mr Fleming, of Belgravia, Appleby, wants a referendum to determine whether townsfolk want it to continue.

He said: "The real Romany people are well-liked but they are now fewer in numbers or are staying away.

"Most of the young people who do attend the fair are not real Gypsies but riff-raff who come to Appleby for a booze-up.

"They foul our streets with their litter and pollute the air with their foul language.

"I have travelled to most parts of the world but I have never seen such barbaric behaviour."

Mr Fleming, who made a film about the fair almost 20 years ago, feels the situation is getting worse each year.

And he described reports that the fair, which attracts thousands of Travellers and visitors to Appleby, generates £3 million turnover as rubbish.

Keith Morgan, chairman of the Appleby New Fair joint committee, said it could only be halted if the Travellers themselves decided against coming.

He felt that the town as a whole was not opposed to the principle of the fair and said the £3 million figure came from a consultants' report.

Three teenage girls alleged they were sexually assaulted and RSPCA inspectors were shot with BB guns during this year's event.

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