The largest market that Wantage has ever had with more than 50 stalls and counting, is coming to the town this month.

Hosted by the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, the money raised at the market will help fund day trips for disadvantaged families and the elderly.

The whole town square is set to be closed off for the St George’s Day Massive Market Event on Sunday April 24.

Ray Collins, founder of the Ray Collins Charitable Trust, said already more than 50 stalls have been booked and there is still space for more.

The event will showcase a mix of delicious food stalls, jewellery, clothes, arts and crafts activities and community groups from Wantage.

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There will also be a raffle and a fancy-dress competition for children at the market with prizes for the best St George and the best dragon.

Mr Collins, who manages Peter Ledbury electricals in Grove Street, Wantage, explained that all the money raised will go towards the charity which aims to help those who are lonely, living in poverty, elderly, and vulnerable people.

Herald Series: Ray CollinsRay Collins

Mr Collins helps provide days out for families and the elderly to attractions such as Beale Park, Blenheim Palace and even the seaside. However, Covid has meant many of these events have been cancelled.

Mr Colins said: “We haven’t been able to do any day trips for the past two years.”

He added: “It will be for families that are struggling financially and that can’t afford holidays. We plan to take them down to the seaside, we did it a few years ago and some of the children had never even seen the sea. They stood there in absolute awe of it.”

The day trips are fully funded by the charity with transport and food all provided.

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Mr Colins said: “Normally they would not be able to afford it, a lot of the families do not have their own transport anyway and especially with the price hike in bills it would be impossible for them to even think about breaks.”

He added: “I myself come from a poor background and we never went on holidays, so I know what it means when someone helps.”

Throughout the year the Ray Collins Charitable Trust holds events for the elderly including Easter dinners and social activities which the market will help fund.

A Wantage Carnival is also set to go ahead on June 26 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

Mr Colins is hoping the huge market will become an annual event and raise money for day trips every year.

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