An enterprising Doncaster mum whose virtual Christmas market gave independent local retailers the chance to sell their wares last year is stepping it up a gear this festive season.

As well as the Doncaster and Rotherham Virtual Market, which has over 7,000 followers on Facebook, Jemma Mcewan is doing the real thing this time around.

It all began last year when the mum-of-one wanted to give beleaguered local retailers the chance to sell their products, after it became clear traditional Christmas markets would not be going ahead.

The virtual market quickly took off, amassing thousands of followers while raising much-needed funds for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in the process.

Now a varied selection of over 60 independent retailers will be joining Jemma at Parklands Sports and Social Club on Wheatley Hall Road in Doncaster on December 12th for a day of festive fun. With a fantastic array of stalls, entertainment, rides and more, the Christmas Fair and Family Fun Day promises something for everyone.

“It all started out as a way to give local, independent retailers a chance to sell their products after what  was such a difficult year,” said Jemma, 36, who works in accounts.

“So after getting such a fantastic response last year, I decided to do a physical market as well the virtual one this year.

“There isn’t a great deal on offer locally when it comes to Christmas markets, so there’s definitely a demand for it.  Often when I visit markets I get frustrated at the repetition of stalls so I’ve approached it with that in mind, so we have plenty of variety and each stall will be unique.

“It’s very much a first for me so it’s certainly been a steep learning curve, but I’m very excited about the market which is shaping up to be a fantastic day out for all the family.”

Like with last year’s virtual market, Jemma wanted local charities to benefit too. This year’s event is being held in support of Bluebell Wood and local mental health charity, Project 14; with all proceeds being split between the two.

Beth Cole, Events Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “It’s brilliant to see some amazing local retailers being given another opportunity to sell their goods after what’s been such a difficult couple of years.

“The virtual market is absolutely fantastic so this year’s physical version really is the icing on the cake.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jemma for all her hard work and dedication as well as her continued support for Bluebell Wood.”