FAMILIES wrapped up warm for a special festive fair to help raise money for a homeless charity.

The annual Smithills Christmas Market drew in around 1,000 people, with visitors seizing the opportunity to get in the festive spirit. Planning for the event has been in full flow for several months, and this year’s display did not disappoint.

There were handmade crafts and artisan gifts for sale, music and carols to spread Christmas cheer, food, drink and even marshmallows to toast over a roasting fire.

Organiser John Platt, from Smithills Fellowship, said: “It was unbelievable - an amazing event. 

“It did rain a little but it certainly didn’t put anyone off. It was a fun, family-friendly event.”

The event gave visitors the chance to do some of their Christmas shopping, with stalls selling a range of goods including pottery, flavoured gins, festive tree decorations, knitted figures and cakes. Santa Claus also made a guest appearance, handing out presents to visiting children and young people in Redcar Road between 2.30pm and 5pm.

All of the proceeds will be donated to Christian charity Urban Outreach, which supports disadvantaged, vulnerable and complex adults and young people across Bolton.

Among stallholders were artist Pete Marsh, who exhibited a  range of work inspired by the surrounding landscapes.

Paella, Jamaican chicken, turkey barms, hot dogs and other locally produced foods were also available for purchase.

Proceeds, which already total more than £6,500, are due to go towards Urban Outreach’s Christmas hamper appeal.