FORMER Warrington Market Manager Stephen Pickering has helped traders from around the country become “Pop Stars” for a day to help lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those taking part included PJ’s Jewellers from Warrington Market who joined Market traders and staff across the country to take part in a fun musical initiative designed to bring a little light relief, while coping with the stress and strains of Covid-19 restrictions.
Like many self-employed workers across the UK, the market industry has felt the pressures of lockdown, with many traders becoming anxious about what the future might hold.
A music video initiative called “Follow the Sun”, gave traders and staff from across the country, the opportunity of taking part in a professional music video production and becoming pop stars for a day.
Earlier this year, the National Association of Markets (NABMA) of which Stephen is now Professional Development Officer, sent out invites to markets throughout the UK and were delighted with the amount of people from far and wide, wanting to participate. All vocals were recorded individually on mobile phones to create an on-line choir, with the successful singers producing ‘selfie videos’ which were used on the final track.
Eileen Fleming from PJ’s Jewellers in Wazrrington Market responded to the national call for singers and gave it a go. Talking about the project Eileen said, “It was enjoyable taking part and the result has been fab.”
Stephen wanted to do something to lift people’s spirits, by offering a break from the constant worry that the restrictions have brought. He started the project after speaking to several market officers, who supported his idea. Inspired by lyric from Dame Vera Lynn: “We’ll meet again some sunny day”, this uplifting song written and performed by The Oven Ready Band encourages people to “follow the sun… and one day we will be free.”
Speaking about the project, Stephen said: “This was never really intended to be an advert to shop at markets, but more of a way to show the comradery and warmth of traders and staff within the industry, who work tirelessly to provide their market service to the public.
“When I retired from Warrington Market, I created a similar music video involving market staff, to highlight mental health issues and encourage people to talk about their problems. That track, called Dancing in the Shadows, has received well over two million views so far.”
NABMA has been highly active throughout the pandemic; ensuring market operators keep up to date with Covid-19 issues, offering a wide range of support and advice, and sharing experiences from operators across the UK.
David Preston, NABMA Chief Executive, commented on the music project: “It has been great to see people coming together in this way and we have certainly discovered some talented
performers. This has brought a little bit of fun during what has been an otherwise anxious period for the market industry”.