Appleby Horse Fair: Huge clean-up operation underway after 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers gather at annual fete

Appleby Horse Fair Huge clean up operation underway after 10000 Gypsies and Travellers gather at annual fete
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A huge clean-up operation underway after thousands of people from the travelling community gathered for their annual get-together at the Appleby Horse Fair.

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Pictures from the site in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, show clean-up teams tackling fields of cardboard boxes, plastic bags and crates left behind by attendees.

The annual week-long festival does not officially come to an end until Wednesday, though the main celebrations took place over the weekend.

Many are said to have left the celebrations early due to forecasted rain and fear they could find themselves stuck in the muddy field usually used to home livestock.

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A contractor working on the clean-up operation told the MailOnline: “Some of the fields look a state at the moment – but they will be cleaned up in no time.

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Pictures from the site in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, show clean-up teams tackling fields of rubbish left behind
Pictures from the site in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, show clean-up teams tackling fields of rubbish left behind (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

“It might look a mess, but that’s what you get when you have a gathering of thousands of people. I can’t imagine it is different at any music festival.

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“Our aim is to restore the fields to normal as soon as possible. In a few days’ time you won’t be able to tell that the fair was ever here.”

The traditional event – which sees members travelling communities gather – usually lasts for a week starting on the first Thursday of June.

Rubbish in a field at the end of the Appleby Horse Fair
Rubbish in a field at the end of the Appleby Horse Fair (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
The traditional event - which sees members travelling communities gather - usually lasts for a week starting on the first Thursday of June.
The traditional event – which sees members travelling communities gather – usually lasts for a week starting on the first Thursday of June. (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

Appleby Fair is not officially an organised event but is a traditional gathering with a long history and is described as “the biggest date in the calendar” for the travelling community.

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While this week marks the 248th official year of the fair, the event traces its history back to James II, who, in 1685, granted a royal charter allowing a horse fair “near the River Eden”. Some members of the community believe the event began at an even earlier date, in Roman times.

Travellers from around the world converge on the Cumbrian market town to meet old friends and do business – mainly trading horses.

Travellers from around the world converge on the Cumbrian market town
Travellers from around the world converge on the Cumbrian market town (Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

Attendance is bolstered by a much wider community from all walks of life, people who share an interest in horses and caravanning.

Sadly, a horse died last Wednesday before the fair officially began according to the RSPCA as it appealed for information.

The clean-up operation appears to be on track, with reports that the town centre already being ‘spotless’ as locals praised the contractors.

One shopkeeper told the MailOnline: “The street cleaners will be able to tell you all sorts of horror stories about the things they find.

“The rubbish is certainly an issue, but the street cleaners do a fantastic job. We have stayed open during the fair, but our takings are actually down because so many local residents leave. But it is what is.”



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