Traders call on Queen of Shops for support

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TRADERS armed with goods took to their High Street to show how much they want Queen of Shops Mary Portas to back their town.

Rushden hopes to become one of 12 towns chosen by the retail guru as a place to test out her ideas to revive struggling town centres and to win a share of £1m.

On Friday staff from the town’s small independent shops joined with its national firms outside the Wesleyan Church in High Street to show their support in a film which is being produced about the town for the bid.

Barbara Jenney, of Rushden Town Partnership, said: “There’s been very little investment in this area and following the decline of the shoe industry we feel the town needs to be reinvigorated.

“The support from the traders has been superb.

“We have a lot of independent stores which make our High Street unique and many small units which are ideal for new businesses wanting to start up.”

Will Osborne, of Osborne’s Sports and Toys, was accompanied to the event by a large Paddington Bear toy.

He said: “It’s important that a community like Rushden has a centre,here that is the High Street and if we can regenerate it that would be a great thing.”

Travel advisor Ashley Ellis, of Thomson, said: “It would be great if we could get some investment to attract bigger stores here to bring more people in.”

Elaine Buckby, of Mrs B’s Sandwich Emporium, said: “There’s a lot of potential here. This could be a lovely little town but if we’re not careful it could get forgotten.”

Asda store manager Fred Wing said: “There is a good spirit in Rushden and we get the sense people here want to move forward and look at doing things differently.”

People have until Thursday to show their support for the bid by signing a petition online at http://petitions.east-northamptonshire.gov.uk/RushdenPortas/.