Village spirit still alive

Lord Mayor of Bare Cameron Seddon with chemist John McKenzie, chair of the Bare Village Business Association.
Lord Mayor of Bare Cameron Seddon with chemist John McKenzie, chair of the Bare Village Business Association.

Princes Crescent is a throwback to days when the high street was the centre of town and village life.

And as part of our #SOSMorecambe campaign, we are delighted to shout about its success.

Traders in Bare village have banded together to promote the quirky shops in and around the Crescent and remind people to shop local.

They hold a street festival once a year to celebrate the village and its shops, and have even appointed a mayor.

And although Bare has the advantage of being one of Morecambe’s most affluent areas, this proactive approach has definitely helped Bare’s small retailers survive the recession.

“Bare is a desirable area for people to live but times are still hard,” said John McKenzie, local chemist and chair of the Bare Village Business Association (BVBA).

“A lot of our customers are pensioners who are also feeling the pinch and this has a knock-on effect on local businesses.

“The idea of forming the BVBA in 2008 was ‘together we are stronger’. If we work together we can debate issues and problems and solve them.”

Dorothy McKenzie, John’s wife, said: “It can be overwhelming for a new business, but with the BVBA if somebody new starts up they already have a support network in place.”

Forty-three Bare businesses are members of the BVBA.

For the past three years they have organised the Bare Festival (or Barefest), a celebration of the village highlighted by a ceremony to appoint the Lord Mayor of Bare, a recently-revived 102-year-old tradition to give the village a community figurehead.

Current wearer of the robe and chain is Lancaster University student, musician and local resident, Cameron Seddon.

“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve seen a recent increase in the number of people coming from outside to shop in Bare,” said Cameron.

“It can only be a good place when everyone stops to say ‘hello’. I think Bare is starting to match Wray for having a true village atmosphere.”

Dorothy said: “People love shopping in Bare because it’s so traditional.

“It takes them back in time to when there was a community spirit rather than a commercial spirit.”