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Founder of town’s fair trade group steps down after more than 16 years

Campaigner Brenda Smith with some of the produce on sale in shops at Sheringham, which has Fairtrade status thanks to her efforts. Photo: Karen Bethell

Campaigner Brenda Smith with some of the produce on sale in shops at Sheringham, which has Fairtrade status thanks to her efforts. Photo: Karen Bethell

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The founder of a group promoting fair trade has stepped down after more than 16 years.

Sheringham Fairtrade campaigner Brenda Smith. Photo: Karen BethellSheringham Fairtrade campaigner Brenda Smith. Photo: Karen Bethell

Brenda Smith has decided to “take a back seat” in the Fairtrade for Sheringham group due to family reasons.

Mrs Smith said she was proud of the work she had done with the group, which began in 2014.

She said: “I heard about a Fairtrade group in Wells and I thought it sounded like a good idea.

“So I approached the mayor of Sheringham and they agreed, and then the council supported it unanimously.

“So then I worked with the Fairtrade Foundation In London so that we could reach the requirements for Sheringham to be designated a Fairtrade Town.”

Sheringham gained Fairtrade Town status in 2014.

Mrs Smith said the idea of fair trade was making sure that growers and workers received a fair wage for their goods and were not being exploited.

She said it involved dozens of products and had produced many success stories.

“For example, people in Bangladesh were growing rice, but it didn’t grow well enough to support them all year,” Mrs Smith said.

“So they set up a programme where they could diversify into a tea crop and sell it to the through the Fairtrade programme.”

Mrs Smith said being part of the group involved hosting stalls at events such as Sheringham Carnvial and the Aldborough Fair, informing people about the benefits of Fairtrade and selling goods from the company Traidcraft, which works with producers in Africa and Asia.

They have also encouraged other traders in the town to sell fair trade goods, and businesses that do often display a notice.

The group also had a stall at a recent harvest festival that took place outside the town’s St Andrew’s Methodist Church.

The stall raised £90 and gifts were received for the Cromer Foodbank.

Information regarding future ordering of Fairtrade goods can be obtained from Jean Parton on 01263 821600 or email jeanparton24@gmail.com or Barbara George on 01263 822003, or email george.barbara443@gmail.com.

Christmas cards can now be ordered, and a catalogue showing Traidcraft Christmas cards can now be obtained.


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