REACTION: Harborough retailers remain positive after coming so close in UK High Street award

Market Harborough retailers celebrate being a finalist in the Great British High Street final.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Market Harborough retailers celebrate being a finalist in the Great British High Street final. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

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Market Harborough might have been edged into a runners-up slot in the Great British High Street (GBHS) awards this week - but retailers say there are plenty of positives to take out of the experience.

As we revealed earlier inthe week, the winner of Market Harborough’s category - Large Market Town - was Bridgnorth in Shropshire.

But the town’s proud GBHS team took great consolation in a campaign which brought the town together - and reached the final.

Only 27 of the 900 entries (three per cent) got to the impressive final awards ceremony at Lancaster House in London’s West End.

Harborough District Council leader Blake Pain, who attended Monday’s ceremony, said: “It was a great privilege to be there as one of three finalists in the Great British High Street competition.

“We didn’t win - Bridgnorth put in a brilliant bid - but the Chamber of Trade and Commerce (who led Market Harborough’s bid) put us on the national map, and the ceremony was a great event.”

Chamber of Trade and Commerce chairman Alastair Campbell, who also attended the London ceremony, said: “To be honest it was just really nice to get into the final three. Our category was one of the most hotly contested.

“We met senior executives from Google, Boots and Wilkinsons and Sir Edward Garnier.

“We’ll go for it again in the future.”

Graham Peers of LeicesterShire Promotions said that while Market Harborough did not win the top prize, local businesses can still benefit from advice sessions with Twitter and Google.

“And as a finalist we got national exposure” he added.

Jo Sharman of Sustainable Harborough said: “It’s just amazing how the Market Harborough community pulled together for this campaign.

“The judges’ visit went really well, and local businesses were all very positive.”

Sairah Butt of Market Place Europe, which runs the town’s market, admitted: “I am disappointed we didn’t win, but the quality of the competitionwas so high.

“It’s such a prestigious competition to be part of - and we did make the top three!”