Published: 05 December 2014

Cllr Norma Bacon, presented the stall holders with a basket of assorted chocolate treats

On Friday 5 December Lichfield Country Market (formally known as Lichfield WI Market) celebrated fifty years of trading on Lichfield's Friday Market on the Market Square. The Mayor of Lichfield, Cllr Norma Bacon, presented the stall holders with a basket of assorted chocolate treats to say thank you, on behalf of Lichfield City Council, for their long standing support of the market.

Their first trading day was on Friday 4 December 1964 on the car park of the Goat's Head, Lichfield (now the site of Barclays Bank) after a resolution was passed at a meeting on 3 July 1964. Committee members even agreed to lend one pound each to get the market started and in a matter of a few months they moved to a stall on the Market Square where they have remained ever since.

Records, though rather sketchy on occasions, have been kept since that day. In 1975 there was a new ruling to affiliate the original WI markets with a county market society and after much 'terse' discussion Lichfield and District WI Market Limited became the Staffordshire WI Markets Society Limited Lichfield Branch.

In the 1980's there were a higher number of members than in recent years and this resulted in regular social events such as trips on the canal, barbecues, evening parties and an annual coach trip visiting other WI Markets across the country.

The present day brings new challenges for the members of Lichfield Country Market with strict legislations to follow in the form of food hygiene training, registration of kitchens, labelling regulations, and best before dates to name but a few!

Joyce Deakin, a member since 1983, still helps to serve as many as three hundred customers on Fridays between 9.00am and 4.00pm, no matter what the weather. Present day members, with the same resilience as Joyce, have sustained the Lichfield Country Market's fierce streak of independence making it the success it is today.

With such a diverse range of produce which includes savoury pies, cakes, puddings, preserves, honey, seasonal fruit and vegetables, flowers, plants and eggs it's no surprise that the Lichfield Country Market is no longer considered the 'cake stall at the church fete'.

For those with a 'taste' for local produce why not also visit Lichfield's extra Farmers' Market for Christmas on the Market Square on Thursday 18 December and stock up for Christmas. There will be an abundance of delicious local produce along with local wines, ciders and delightful handmade crafts. Lichfield's successful and appealing Farmers' Market has been held on the Market Square on the first Thursday of the month (except January) since June 2001.