A DARLINGTON market has been crowned the nation’s favourite.

Darlington Sunday People’s Market has beaten off competition from across the country to be named Britain’s favourite market at the annual National Association of British Market Authorities Market (NABMA) of the Year competition.

The market launched in August last year after months of campaigning and planning by local business owners and residents and now runs in partnership with Darlington Borough Council.

Its aim was to rejuvenate the town centre and showcase the diversity of the region, as well as bringing traders to Darlington who are not usually seen on the traditional Saturday and Monday markets.

Speaking after the award ceremony at the NABMA conference in Birmingham today (Thursday, January 31), co-founder and owner of The Diner in the Covered Market, Alex Blackham, said: “We are absolutely over the moon.

“This award is for all the people who have helped play a part in the market since it was set up last year as they have all worked so hard.”

Since its launch last year the market has gone from strength to strength and now regularly attracts more than 30 traders from across the North-East.

Darlington Borough Council’s markets manager, Peter Wilson, said: “It is fantastic for Darlington and we should all be incredibly proud.

“People love our markets. They rejuvenate town centres and Darlington on a Sunday now has a fantastic atmosphere thanks to the Sunday market.”

Communities Minister Don Foster, who presented the awards, said: “I congratulate all the winners on their work providing outstanding markets for local people to shop at, supporting the local economy and creating jobs.

“High streets are facing a tough time at the moment with household name shops closing and strong competition from internet sales – yet many markets across the country are thriving.

“All today’s award winners and nominees are playing a vital role in keeping their local high street flourishing.”

The next Darlington Sunday People’s Market will take place this weekend on Sunday, February 3 from 11am to 4pm on Blackwellgate and High Row.

If you are a trader and wish to have a stall at a future market, email dspm.darlington@live.co.uk