The judges of the Great British High Street competition said they were “very impressed” with Market Harborough, after their tour of the town yesterday (Tuesday).
Judge Robin Lassiter told the Mail: “I’ve been very impressed with your town.
“I can see there’s a real measure of pride in the community here, and of self-help - local people getting together to make a lot of important things happen.”
He was speaking after the three competition judges took a tour of the town that included the Market, St Mary’s Place, The Square, High Street and Church Street.
Of course the judges did NOT say whether Market Harborough had done enough to beat the other two finalists in their Large Market Town category - Bridgnorth and Hinckley.
You can still help Market Harborough win by voting for the town once a day at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk - the closing date for voting is November 18.
A win would give the town a share of a £100,000 prize and national publicity.
The three judges - Mr Lassiter and Ian Ayling of sponsors Wilko and Hilary Paxman from the Department for Communities and Local Government - spoke to retailers and community groups around the town.
At one of the town’s oldest shops, delicatessen Emerson and West’s, Kristine West said: “We’re one of the town’s traditional independent shops, so I hope the judges liked us!”
And at one of the newest shops, the fashion jewellers Grace and Co which officially opens on High Street on Saturday, Mick McQuillan said: “We like the town and the area.
“It encourages independent retailers as well.”
The judges also spent time in a bustling market, where market manager Sairah Butt said: “I’d say it’s our diversity which is our strength.
“It’s the fact that you can get anything under one roof.”
At Joules, the original store of what is now an international brand, store manager Helen Reilly said: “We find customers are quite loyal to Joules, and proud about the shop and about their town.”
“I’m really pleased with how the tour went” said one of the guides - Jo Sharman of Sustainable Harborough.
“It’s now important that local people vote for Market Harborough!”
During coffee and cakes at The Old Grammar School at the end of the visit, Harborough District Council leader Blake Pain told the delegation: “We’ve very much enjoyed showing you our town.
“In Market Harborough we’re resilient and we collaborate and work together to create the best market town in the whole country!”