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Garstang Fairtrade Town

Garstang The World's First Fairtrade Town

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Garstang's 5th Fairtrade Birthday & Lancashire Launch Fairtrade County Campaign

By becoming the first Fairtrade Town in November 2001 the little town of Garstang pioneered the Fairtrade Towns initiative used to promote the FAIRTRADE Mark. There are now 150 Fairtrade Towns in the UK and the idea has spread to Ireland, Belgium and Canada with hopes of similar initiative starting up in Scandinavia and the USA later this year. Read More

Garstang says MAKE POVERTY HISTORY

As the first Fairtrade Town, Garstang felt duty-bound to show its support for the Make Poverty History campaign. While almost 200,000 people gathered in Hyde Park to listen to the biggest live concert in human history, over 200,000 more felt the need to show their support by forming a human white band around Edinburgh ahead of the G8 summit. Garstang had to be represented! Read More

August 2004: Garstang/Ghana Exchange 2004

Garstang - Ghana LogoOn Sunday August 15th a group of five people representing the Garstang community will travel to Ghana on the first visit to New Koforidua since it became Garstang’s twin town in February 2002. The UK group will spend ten days living with their counterparts before traveling back with the Ghanaians on Wednesday 25th August to spend ten days in and around Garstang.

Those involved in the exchange will consist of:

1. Links person Bruce Crowther exchanging with Evelyn Appiah Kubi of Kuapa Kokoo.
2. Local Councillor Gillian Lamb exchanging with Nana Agyekum Sarpong II, Chief of New Koforidua
3. Local artist and businessperson Gwyneth Bough exchanging with the hairdresser Cecilia Mensa.
4. Deputy Head of Garstang Community Primary School (G.C.P.S.) Chris Barlow exchanging with teacher Patrick Gyamfi Nyarkomago
5. A school pupil Ben Crowther aged 10yrs of G.C.P.S. will exchange with Samuel Fianu from Children in Need (CING).

Dairy farmer Aubrey Greenhalgh was to exchange with the Kuapa cocoa farmer Kwasi Poku but although Aubrey will no longer visit Ghana he will still be hosting Kwasi’s visit to Garstang when he returns on August 25th.

The members of each party will share in each other’s experiences and problems and hopefully may even find some common solutions to some of these problems. This is of particular interest where the farming relationship is concerned. Garstang is a rural community and it is hoped that the exchange may bring fair trade cocoa farmers in Ghana together with local Garstang farmers also wanting a fair price for their produce. The UK group will be accompanied by two representatives from the Landscape Design Department of Myerscough College who will design and supervise the building of a children's play area in New Koforidua. The play area will be funded by Churches Together for Garstang District and Brock Valley. BBC North West Reporter Gill Dummigan will also travel to Ghana to document the visit along with Manchester poet Robin Graham.

General aims for the Exchange include:

1. To build on the links made between Garstang and its twin town New Koforidua. To bring a greater depth of understanding of each other and each other’s needs to both communities and to enable people to share in each other’s cultures.
2. To promote mainstream fair trade. To highlight the terrible suffering endured by many due to the present unfair rules of trade and the fact that many small farmers across the world do not get a fair price for their produce.
3. To further highlight Garstang as the world’s first Fairtrade Town thereby promoting the Fairtrade Town initiative and Garstang’s own civic pride.
4. To promote Oxfam’s Education Now Campaign aimed at persuading world governments to meet the UN target to get all children into school by 2015
5. To promote the work of UNICEF by focusing on CING and work with the UNICEF campaign launched in January 2003 to increase awareness of child labour.
6. Widen horizons of each group member to be better ‘armed’ to answer the issues raised on global poverty.

Aims that are more specific to individual exchange members include:

Farmer
1. To highlight the farming crisis in the UK and the desperate need for change in our attitudes towards food security.
2. To alter the consumer mindset that ‘cheap is best’ thereby encouraging the UK consumer to buy local produce and offer a fair price to farmers in the UK as well as developing countries.

Teacher
1. To create a valuable teaching locality resource based on real experiences which will enrich both teacher and pupil’s understanding of life in Ghana, including an understanding of citizenship / Global issues such as Fair Trade, child labour and slavery (past and present). Whilst also establishing friendships / links between children.

Myerscough College
1. Build the children’s play area in New Koforidua.
2. Build on the twin relationship between Myerscough College and Kwadaso College in Kumasi.
3. Broaden student outlook.

To find out what the participants will be doing when in Ghana and the UK take a look at our itinerary and events page.

February 2004: Fairtrade cyclists celebrate 10th Birthday in Garstang

Cyclists from Fairtrade Towns and budding Fairtrade Towns across the UK will converge on Garstang, the world’s first Fairtrade Town to celebrate the 10th Birthday of the FAIRTRADE Mark. Up to 50 cyclists from as far away as Oxford and Cambridge will cycle into Garstang at 4.30pm on Friday 12th March as part of the ‘Spokes of the Wheel’ event organised by the Fairtrade Foundation for Fairtrade Fortnight 2004 (1st – 14th March).

The cyclists will first call in at the Garstang Co-op store where manager Betty Whittam will present each of them with a bar of Co-op own brand Fairtrade chocolate. After completing a lap of the town they will then take part in a Civic Reception attended by Mayor Anne Humphries and Roger Stewart, President of Garstang’s Chamber of Trade. The Crown Pub (Garstang’s only Fairtrade pub) will offer our intrepid Fairtrade supporters some light refreshment before moving on to the Riverside Club for the 10th Birthday Party.

The party, kindly sponsored by the Cooperative Group, will be attended by Brian Namata, Fairtrade sugar Producer from Malawi. As well as hearing from Brian those attending will be treated to the sights and sounds of Nat Biney and his Ghanaian dancers and drummers. Fairtrade merchandise will be available for sale as well as free samples of Fairtrade products. The cyclists will be rewarded with a piece of delicious Co-op Fairtrade chocolate Birthday cake.

The Birthday Party will start at 7.30pm at the Riverside Club (formerly Westminster Club) on Bridge Street, Garstang. No admission charge will be made for this event but numbers will need to be restricted so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

13th September 2003 Coldplay Raffle

The Garstang Oxfam Group 'Make Trade Fair' raffle was drawn at the Discovery Centre in Garstang on Saturday 13th September 2003. Garstang's Mayor Anne Humphries drew the winning ticket owned by 13 year old Joe Swarbrick of Catterall near Garstang. Joe is now the proud owner of a signed Oxfam 'Make Trade Fair' T shirt. Chris Martin of the popular band Coldplay is well known for wearing an Oxfam shirt when performing. This shirt, signed by the four members of Coldplay was personally designed by Chris for his own use. Read more about the Coldplay raffle here.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2003

On Saturday 15th March a team of cyclists will travel from Garstang to Bolton to join in Bolton's celebration on becoming the UK's largest Fairtrade Town. They will bring their words of congratulation from the first Fairtrade Town and will hopefully meet up with representatives from Chester and Haworth the first Fairtrade City and first Fairtrade Village.

The Ghanaian cocoa farmer Comfort Kwaasibea, will visit Garstang in the evening of March 15th. On Sunday 16th March she will judge a competition open to Garstang's schools to design a flag celebrating Garstang's link with its twin town New Koforidua. It is hoped that two flags will be made and one exchanged with a flag from New Koforidua during the exchange visit in 2004.

A Happy Fair Trade New Year to UK Farmers

2003 brings new hope for British farmers who, like many farmers in Developing Countries, are often struggling to get a fair price for their produce. New Year celebrations had barely wound down before the welcome announcement by the Soil Association and the Fairtrade Foundation of a new collaborative pilot project that may, at last, bring the fair trade system to our own local farmers. Half of this project concerns the two organisations working together to steamline the certification process so that more Organic and Fairtrade products will be launched in 2003. The other half of the pilot will also start to explore how products from the UK could carry the Fairtrade Mark.

The Fairtrade Foundation and Soil Association hope to share their expertise of their successful international certification schemes and work to start thinking of how criteria can be drawn up for UK Farmers. Both organisations anticipate problems but stress that they do not wish for any new UK Fairtrade Mark to exclude NON organic farmers.

Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation says, "While our priority remains to assist producers in the South who suffer most from the problems of world trade, we recognise that many of these problems are shared by farmers in developed countries as well. This trial with the Soil Association will help us learn how the philosophy and principles of our work can best be applied in the UK context."

"We are keen to extend the benefits of Fairtrade to more producers and to enable consumers to express their preference for Organic Fairtrade products with the confidence that our respective assurance schemes provide"

Already there are a number of products carrying both the FAIRTRADE Mark and the Soil Association Mark. These include Green & Black's Maya gold chocolate and cocoa powder, Equal Exchange coffee, honey, tea and cocoa, Cafedirect coffee and tea, Fyffes bananas, Agrofair bananas and mangoes, Percol coffee and Traidcraft sugar. The first products to appear on shop shelves as a result of the project are expected to be grapes from South Africa and citrus fruits from Egypt.

For more information see 'The best of both worlds - organic and Fairtrade' press release on the Fairtrade Foundation wesite.

The link between farmers in developing Countries and those in the UK also fighting for a fair price for their produce has been made in Garstang for some time. See here for further information on the Garstang Farmers Link.

An Early Day Motion Double for Garstang

After Garstang became a Fairtrade Town in the year 2000 local MP, Hilton Dawson tabled an Early Day Motion No. 694 congratulating the town on it’s achievement. On Tuesday 26th November 2002 the Co-op made the momentous decision to use only fair trade cocoa from the Ghanaian cocoa farming cooperative Kuapa Kokoo in all its own brand chocolate products, including four varieties of chocolate bars and a tasty chocolate fudge cake. This decision will double the sales of fair trade chocolate in the UK overnight. Within hours of the decision being made, Hilton Dawson MP tabled the Early Day Motion No.190 welcoming the Co-op’s announcement, celebrating Garstang’s twinning with New Koforidua, urging supermarkets to follow the Co-op’s example and towns and cities to follow Garstang’s example and recognizing that Fairtrade is a global concept that should apply to farmers in Britain as well as those in Developing Countries.

Garstang appears on BBC 2’s Working Lunch

Less than one week after Garstang’s Ghana Evening the BBC visited Garstang to interview local people involved with the Fairtrade Town initiative. The report will be shown on the programme ‘Working Lunch’ to be shown at 12.30pm on Wednesday 4th December.

BBC Working lunch

New Koforidua Celebration Evening

The people of Garstang celebrated twinning with New Koforidua during a Ghana evening held on Saturday 23rd November at the Westminster Club in Garstang. Over 100 people enjoyed authentic Ghanaian cuisine prepared by Victoria Amediku, now living in High Wycombe and some joined in with the African drumming and dancing provided by York based Drumdance. The highlight of the evening had to be the live web cam link with Kuapa Kokoo in Kumasi, Ghana. Local dignitaries and members of Garstang’s Fairtrade Steering Group were able to talk directly with Nuruddin Boateng of Kuapa and Mr. Ohemeng, Kuapa Kokoo’s Director. The Garstang based web design firm ‘Fuzzbox’ facilitated the link at the Garstang end. Andrews Addoquaye Tagoe from the Ghana Agricultural Workers Union also attended and spoke at the event.

Before the event the Fairtrade Steering Group met with community representatives interested in becoming part of the exchange visit to Ghana in 2004. Nick Maurice, Director of the UK One World Linking Association, attended the meeting. Alex Briault, Chair of the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group, said that the day had been a great success and added, “to think that Fair Trade is just about cocoa or coffee or struggling Ghanaian farmers or struggling Ethiopian farmers is to miss the point. Fair Trade is about farmers all over the world, including those in the UK, who simply want to have a fair price to produce a quality product.”

Garstang Attracts Minister Double Whammy!

On Wednesday 2nd October 2002 Sally Keeble MP (Under Secretary of State for the Dept. for International Development) took time out of the Labour Party Conference to visit Garstang - the world's first Fairtrade Town. She was accompanied by Hilton Dawson MP for Lancaster and Wyre and his wife Susan and met with members of the Garstang Oxfam Group and the Garstang Fairtrade Steering comittee. While in Garstang she called in for a glass of fair trade wine at the Crown Pub, had lunch at the Coffee Pot cafe and visited Garstang Community Primary School where it is hoped that web cam links can be developed between pupils at the school and school children in Ghana. Sally Keeble was particularly impressed with the links made in Garstang between cocoa farmers in Ghana and local farmers struggling also to get a fair price for their produce and the work done in partnership with Garstang's schools. "It's a well thought through initiative," she said. "It also gives the town a unique selling point. The next time there is a Labour Party Conference we might encourage some people to stay here in a Fairtrade Town instead of in Blackpool."

This of course is not the first time Garstang has been honoured with a Ministerial visit. In June 2000 George Foulkes MP, the then Under Secretary of State for DfID, visited Garstang to celebrate its newly found status as the world's first Fairtrade Town. He then said, "..the beacon that has started here in Garstang can spread like wildfire across the whole of the country." Indeed now two years on his words have materialised. There are now six Fairtrade Towns and Cities across the UK, the latest of which is Haworth in West Yorkshire. There are a further 45 places working towards Fairtrade Status including Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham, Liverpool, Oxford and Cambridge.

Garstang and Ghana Exchange Visit

An exchange trip between Garstang and twin town New Koforidua is planned for the Summer of 2004. A group of about 10 local people, to include a farmer, teacher, business person, local councilor and school child will spend about 10 days visiting their Ghanaian counterparts in and around New Koforidua. Following the visit the Ghanaians will have a 10 days stay in Garstang hosted by their newly formed Garstang friends. Although still in its early stages the Fairtrade Steering Group organising the exchange are confident it will take place. The organisers will meet in the afternoon of November 23rd, before the Twin Town Celebration Evening, to start work on more detailed arrangements. This meeting will be attended by Nick Maurice, Director of the UK One World Linking Association.

It is very much hoped that the exchange will build on the Garstang / Ghana links already made and build up understanding between the two communities. In the words of the coffee producer Guillermo Vargus Leiton "If we can look one another in the eyes, we can understand each other's needs."

Garstang / New Koforidua Celebration Night

The Garstang Fairtrade Steering Group will celebrate Garstang's recent twinning with the cocoa farming community of New Koforidua in Ghana during an event to be held at Garstang's Westminster Club on Saturday 23rd November. During the event Ghanaian food and drink will be available as well as a performance and drumming workshop from Drumdance. With the help of local Web Site designers 'Fuzz Box' it is hoped that a web cam conferencing link, between people attending the event and the community of New Koforidua, can be established at some stage during the celebration. Tickets for the event cost £5, to include a buffet meal, and are available from the Discovery Centre, Cooperative Pioneer Supermarket and the Garstang Courier Office. All proceeds will go to the Garstang Fairtrade Steering Committee.

Fairtrade Town - What next?

Chester and Leicester have now joined Garstang in becoming Fairtrade Cities and there are many other towns and cities across the UK working towards Fairtrade status. But does the fair trade campaign stop once that Fairtrade status is achieved? We in Garstang hope not. Achieving Fairtrade status and increasing awareness of Fairtrade in your town or city is just the beginning and opens the door for much more work around fair trade issues, as the people of Garstang have discovered. The theme for Fairtrade Fortnight 2002 was about bringing the producer and consumer closer together. We feel this is applicable for local farmers also which is why we ran the event Garstang and Ghana - Why do their farmers get a raw deal? The links we have built up with Ghana, recently strengthened after Garstang twinned with its Ghanaian counterpart New Koforidia, will now be developed further. It is planned to hold video conferences between different aspects of Garstang's community and our Ghana links. The Fairtrade Foundation agree that the work should not end with achieving Fairtrade Town status and have published a document entitled 'Fairtrade Partners' containing further campaigning ideas.

Fairtrade Easter Eggs arrive in Garstang

Booths supermarket now stocks Fairtrade Easter eggs in their Garstang store. The 100g eggs made by Green and Black's are organic as well as carrying the Fairtrade Mark. Containing 34% cocoa solids this new arrival means we can now all enjoy delicious creamy milk chocolate eggs at Easter with a clear conscience. Thank you Booths!

Garstang features in Prime Minister's Question Time

During Prime Minister's Question Time on Wednesday 13th March, Hilton Dawson, M.P. for Lancaster and Wyre, raised the subject of Garstang's fair trade link up with Ghana. Garstang was heralded as an example to others after "linking up" with the Ghanaian cocoa producing community of New Koforidua during Fairtrade Fortnight. He asked the Prime Minister to agree that "This sort of initiative is precisely what we should welcome and precisely something which is in line with new economic policy for African development and will make globalisation work for the poor across the world." Tony Blair praised Garstang by replying "The point you make is right." The Government had cut Ghana's debt repayments by £250 million, he said, adding: "That is money that now can go into their health and education services."

The G.F.B.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2002 saw the appearance in Garstang of the G.F.B. (Garstang Fairtrade Banana). To make the G.F.B. simply place a peeled Fairtrade banana overnight in a refrigerator then melt delicious Fairtrade Divine milk chocolate and lovingly coat the banana from end to end. Replace in a refrigerator overnight to set. Simplicity at its best! It may not score many points on presentation but you will be driven bananas by its scrumptious divine taste! Eat your heart out Gary Rhodes!

Fairtrade Fortnight 2002

Fairtrade Fortnight 2002 will run from Monday 4th March to Sunday 17th March. Many events are planned in Garstang during that time of which some of these are listed below:

Monday 4th and Thursday 7th - The Fairtrade Steering Group will hold a Fair Trade stall outside Booths supermarket. Free samples available.

Saturday 9th - Coffee Morning and 'Bring and Buy' sale at Garstang Methodist Church Hall, Parkhill Road from 10am to 1pm. There will be displays, leaflets and Fairtrade video. Bring a 'Fairtrade' delicacy. All proceeds to go to 'Children in Need', Ghana.

Wednesday 13th - Garstang and Ghana - Why do their farmers get a raw deal? A public enquiry to be held at Myerscough Agricultural College, Bilsborrow starting at 1pm. A citizen's Jury will listen to testimonies from local farmers, Ghanaian farmers (including cocoa farmers from Garstang's twin town of New Koforidua) the Fairtrade Foundation, politicians and other interested parties. The Jury will then give recommendations on how the various players can help ensure farmers across the world get a fair price for their produce. The conclusions will be published on the Farmers Link page of this web site after the event. Fair Trade refreshments and stalls will be available and admission is free.

Monday 4th to Saturday 9th - Go Global fair trade/slave trade display will be in Garstang Library, Windsor road.

Monday 4th to Sunday 17th - Fairtrade Checklist Challenge! A competition for Garstang's Primary schools in which children have to count the number of coffee cup or banana posters in Garstang's town centre. First three correct entries win a bar of Fairtrade chocolate. Details available from any of the three Primary schools in Garstang.

Monday 4th to Sunday 17th - The Crown Hotel on the High Street will run a Fairtrade theme throughout Fairtrade Fortnight. As well as the usual Fairtrade tea and coffee they will also be selling the Co-op fair trade Chilean Carmenere red wine and Chilean oak aged Semillon white wine. Gary Rhodes' wonderful chocolate and banana desert (recipe donated to the Fairtrade Foundation) will also be served during the two weeks, and if successful it may well become a permanent feature? The Coffee Pot will of course sell its usual wide range of fair trade and local produce and Avis's specialty Fairtrade scones will be on offer during Fairtrade Fortnight including banana and chocolate flavours. During Fairtrade Fortnight the Co-op store will have a 20% reduction on all 17 of their Fairtrade Marked products as well as on their fair traded wines.

Garstang finds a Twin Town

At the Garstang town Council meeting held on Monday 18th February 2002, the Council accepted the proposal that Garstang forms a twin relationship with the town of New Koforidua outside Kumasi in Ghana. This is very much in line with Garstang's status as a Fairtrade Town because New Koforidua is a Fair Trade cocoa farming community, a part of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative. The youngsters of the Go Global Group visited New Koforidua during their trip to Ghana in the summer of 2001.

New Koforidua, on the main Kumasi to Accra road, has a population of about 3,000 and three schools. It takes its name from Koforidua which is the provincial town for Ghana's Eastern Region. Koforidua is Twi (the local Ashanti language) for 'go to the forest tree'. The 'forest tree' would originally have been a place to trade, suggesting that, like Garstang, New Koforidua also evolved as a market town. It is hoped that this positive move by the town Council will further strengthen the links made between Garstang and Ghana. The decision can only help to build up a relationship between dairy farmers around Garstang and the cocoa farmers of New Koforidua in their common battle to get a fair price for their produce. See page on Farmers Link.

Fairtrade Steering Group set up in Garstang

On Monday 4th February 2002 Garstang will hold the inaugural meeting of its Fairtrade Steering Group in the Crown pub, High Street at 7.30pm. The Steering Group will ensure Garstang continues to be worthy of its title as the world's first Fairtrade Town . It will also coordinate events to be held in Garstang during Fairtrade Fortnight each year. Alex Briault, of the Garstang Oxfam Group, is acting as the interim Chairperson.

Chester becomes the first Fairtrade City

On Friday 18th January 2002 Chester became the first city to reach the five goals set by the Fairtrade Foundation to become the first Fairtrade City in the UK.

Tony Robinson comes to Garstang

On Thursday 22nd November 2001 Tony Robinson, of 'Blackadder' and 'Time Team' fame, unveiled a plaque to commemorate Garstang as the world's first Fairtrade Town. The unveiling ceremony took place at the Discovery Centre in Garstang. The plaque, sponsored by the Co-operative Group, will be permanently erected outside the Discovery Centre at the bottom of Garstang High Street. Harriet Lamb, Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, also presented the very first Fairtrade Town certificate to Councillor Lady Dulcie Atkins the town's Mayor. The new Garstang Fairtrade / Local Produce Directory was also launched at this event and is now available from the Discovery Centre and other outlets in and around Garstang. See Making Garstang a Fairtrade Town for further information on the day's activities.

Fairtrade Town Initiative launched Nationwide

You can now make your town (or city) a Fairtrade Town!

During September 2001 the Fairtrade Foundation launched the Fairtrade Town initiative across the UK. There are five goals to be achieved in order to create a Fairtrade Town, City or Zone. The Fairtrade Foundation will then officially recognise the achievement with the presentation of a certificate. For further details on how to become a Fairtrade Town, City or Zone you can obtain an Action Guide from the Fairtrade Foundation by calling 0207 405 5942 or visit their web site.

You can also join the Fairtrade Town online discussion forum by sending your message to FairtradeTown@yahoogroups.com

Go Global Go Ghana - and return!

On August 5th the Go Global team of 7 adults and 5 youngsters returned from their 3 week voyage of Ghana. While there they investigated the issues of Fairtrade, the Atlantic Slave Trade and Child Labour. For more information on their trip see Go Global Go Ghana.

Fairtrade Mark Survey 2001

Following Fairtrade Fortnight 2001 (5th - 18th March) the Fairtrade Foundation conducted a national survey that showed a 20% recognition of the Fairtrade Mark across the UK. The same survey was carried out in Garstang. 104 local people were surveyed showing a remarkable 71% recognition of the Fairtrade Mark. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that 91% of local people asked were aware that Garstang is the world's first Fairtrade Town suggesting that it is this initiative that has led to the increase in awareness of Fairtrade in Garstang. For the full results of this survey see Fairtrade Mark Survey 2001.

Fairtrade Town 1st Anniversary

In April 2001, one year on from Garstang becoming a Fairtrade Town the Garstang Oxfam Group went back to the premises in Garstang to see if they were still honouring the pledge forms stating that Fairtrade tea and coffee would be drunk on the premises. Out of a total of 96 premises asked only 2 declared they would no longer use Fairtrade drinks. Most of these are continuing to display the Fairtrade sticker.

For a list of the premises (excluding churches and schools) see the Fairtrade Directory.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2001

During Fairtrade Fortnight 2001 (5th - 18th March) the whole community of Garstang held events to promote awareness of Fairtrade and raise money for Comic Relief (Red Nose Day was on Friday 16th March). Many local businesses took part together with all the churches and schools in Garstang. A total of £1,493.79 was raised for the Garstang for Comic Relief account opened especially for Fairtrade Fortnight. Much more money raised was paid directly to Comic Relief and this amount unfortunately was not recorded. See the page Events and Exhibitions for details of some of the events held.

Road Signs Go Up

On Wednesday 28th February 2001 four road signs went up on Garstang's boundary stating "Garstang World's First Fairtrade town". These signs were sponsored by the Co-op and erected with permission from Lancashire County Council and Garstang Town Council. See Making Garstang a Fairtrade Town for photograph of the event.

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