A popular Christmas fair in Hither Green that supports local businesses is set to return this weekend.

On Saturday, December 2, the F.U.S.S. Christmas Fair is set to return to Staplehurst Road from 12pm to 5pm, with over 50 stalls and a host of activities for Lewisham locals.

Located in Hither Green, the Friends and Users of Staplehurst Shops (F.U.S.S.) Christmas Fair celebrates and showcases Lewisham businesses in a one-day event every December.

The event was first established 20 years ago, providing the community with an opportunity to socialise, shop with local businesses and take part in festive activities.

This Is Local London: Browsing the FUSS Fair stallsBrowsing the FUSS Fair stalls (Image: FUSS Fair Team)

Initially when the event first began it was made up of a small number of six stalls, but over time the fair grew in scale and now features a line-up of over 50 stalls from local food and drink to crafts.

In recent years the event has grown in popularity, with estimates from the fair organisers suggesting that over 1,000 people have attended.

This year's event will feature a line-up of music from start-up choir group Hithertones and Hither Green Community Choir along with guest performances.

This year there will also be a guest appearance from Santa and crafts, along with the annual Christmas lights switch-on between 4.30pm and 5pm.

This Is Local London: Mulled wine stallMulled wine stall (Image: FUSS Fair Team)

The Chair of F.U.S.S. Frank Tarrant said: “The Fair has been built up over the years from about six stalls about twenty years ago to its present size of fifty plus. 

“The energy and commitment of local people working together with the shop keepers has maintained an impetuous that has seen the small beginnings blossom into what has been described as the biggest street fair in Lewisham.

“Even in lockdown we were able to fund a tree which was a focal point for the community.

“As in previous years, we have been blessed by the support of a small team of incredibly hard working volunteers who make the Christmas Fair possible. In addition, we have had over time extremely talented co-ordinators and this year is no different. We have Jo.

“F.U.S.S. is mindful that the Fair is only possible because of the local people who make the day a success."

This Is Local London: Early evening shoppingEarly evening shopping (Image: FUSS Fair Team)

One local business that has benefited from the annual fair is Hither Green-based Messy LDN, founded by Laura Neuveglise.

She began the small clothing business in 2019 following the loss of her late grandmother, who passed on her embroidery skills onto her.

Laura, who hand-makes her garments, has described the fair as the “highlight” of her year, and added that she felt “lucky” to live in a community that valued small businesses.

This Is Local London: Messy LDN stallMessy LDN stall (Image: Laura Neuveglise)

The 49-year-old said: “I've lived here for 10 years and the FUSS fair really is a highlight of the year. 

“We have attended every year and traditionally we put up our tree on the day of the fair and always try to buy a decoration from the fair each year.

“This is the first year I will have a stall and I cannot be more excited about it.

“Times are really tough at the moment for all businesses.

“We are lucky to be able to live in a community where people really value small businesses and support crafts by attending and making purchases.”

This Is Local London: Messy LDN giftsMessy LDN gifts (Image: Laura Neuveglise)

For Rachel Middleton, 55, founder of Posters Bespoke, the fair has become an ”important” event that supports local businesses.

Rachel first began selling at the fair in 2009, with her first stall selling dog bandanas, and again in 2019.

In 2020 Rachel started a new business designing vintage style posters, following the loss of her dog Kizzy.

Inspired by her holiday, Rachel decided to start a business with the aim to capture her customers' favourite memories and places and is set to sell at this year's fair.

This Is Local London: Posters Bespoke stallPosters Bespoke stall (Image: Rachel Middleton)

Rachel explained: “I had my first stall at a FUSS FAIR in 2009 selling dog bandanas. 

“It's a great community, I don't worry about competing with big companies, they couldn’t give the personalised fully bespoke experience that I can.

“It's not ‘big bucks’ but I just love what I do.

“Local events like this are so important to support each other as businesses and get together in a fun relaxed environment.“

MP for Lewisham East Janet Daby described the annual fair as a “centrepiece” for the community, during a time where local businesses were feeling the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.

MP for Lewisham East, Janet Daby, said: “Friends and Users of Staplehurst Shops do brilliant work in Hither Green.

“Their Christmas Fair has become a real centrepiece for the local community and the money raised goes to important causes, like improving the local environment and buying a defibrillator which shops and residents can access.

“Too many businesses are struggling in the current economic climate.

“Rising energy costs and high inflation have created really challenging conditions for local businesses – so that’s why groups like FUSS are so important in championing and supporting local businesses which matter so much to our communities. 

“I pay tribute to the team of organisers behind the Christmas Fair.

“The fact that it has grown to become Lewisham’s biggest one-off street fair is a testament to their work and is one of the many things which make me proud to represent such a vibrant and caring community in Lewisham East.”