'Cultural Evening' to be held in Kirkby Stephen ahead of Appleby Horse Fair

8 April 2019

A Gypsy and Traveller ‘Cultural Evening’ is to be held in Kirkby Stephen later this month aimed at helping to build links and better understanding between traveller and settled communities.

The event will be held on Monday, 29 April 2019 and has been organised by the local County Councillor who has invited Shera Rom (Head Gypsy) Billy Welch to attend the event, along with Traveller representative Bill Lloyd.

The aim of the event is to help establish dialogue and understanding between both the local people of Kirkby Stephen and the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Billy Welch will be speaking and answering questions about the history, tradition and culture of the Gypsy people and the efforts to preserve the existence and character of Appleby Horse Fair.

Billy Welch said: “I think this could be a great opportunity for both the settled and the Gypsy and Traveller community to build up a better understanding of one another.

“For the last 20 years I have been the tenant on Fair Hill and have represented the Gypsy and Traveller community who camp there during the Horse Fair. Whilst myself and Bill Lloyd can’t speak for everyone who attends the Fair – most of whom are not Gypsies and Travellers – we can help get across any concerns local people may have.”

Gypsy and Traveller representative Bill Lloyd will conclude the evening with a presentation including traditional stories and songs.

Bill Lloyd said: “This is a unique event and I hope people see it as a positive way to build relationships between communities.

“I’m confident that those who attend will find there is plenty of common ground and there are few things the Gypsy and Traveller community and the settled community actually disagree on.”

The event is being held in the function room of The King’s Arms in Market Street in Kirkby Stephen. The event is free to all, with refreshments available to purchase. The event starts at 7.30pm and is expected to conclude around 9.30pm.