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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Final chapter for book sale

A ONE-DAY book sale, believed to be the largest in the North of England, will be held for the final time at this year’s Wylam Summer Fair.

The second-hand stall, which has been going for over 30 years, raises around £2,000 annually for charitable causes within the village.

But it has become a victim of its own success, as the work involved in running it has become unmanageable for parish councillor Brian Japes (pictured right).

And now building work at Wylam Methodist Church hall, is also set to curtail crucial storage space.

Coun. Japes said: “I do have some help, but I do most of the work on my own.

“The stall can take about 10 days’ work to set up and pack away and I’m 74 now.

“Last year, people were telling me I looked exhausted and so I decided, with a bit of pressure from friends, that enough was enough.”

The stall used to be held with the rest of the summer fair on the village’s Jubilee Playing Field.

However, under Coun. Japes’s leadership, it was transferred to the church hall, and now attracts hundreds of boxes of high quality books from around the village.

These are then sorted into about 30 different categories, selling at 70p for paperbacks, 80p for hardbacks and slightly more for nearly new books.

Some efforts were made to find volunteers to take over from Coun. Japes, but no-one was prepared to take on the task.

Coun. Japes is also a trusted member of the church, equipped with his own set of keys, and bringing in someone new could involve drawing up many awkward conditions.

“Over the past few years, one or two dealers have came and said they think it is the biggest one-day book stall in the North of England,” Coun. Japes said.

“Another man said he thought it was the best second-hand book stall he’d been to.

“I do have mixed feelings about ending it, but perhaps it’s sensible to give up on a high.

“And somebody has expressed an interest in carrying on a small-scale book stall on the day of the summer fair, so the event can continue in some way.”

For its last year the stall will run during the summer fair on June 23, and on the Sunday and Monday following it.

Anyone interested in setting up a further stall on the Tuesday can also get in touch with Coun. Japes on (01661) 852 151.

Whatever does not sell will be auctioned off in aid of the Wylam Playing Fields Association, and Wylam and District Churches Youth and Children’s Work.

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