Food and Drink Festival saved

Jean-Christophe Novelli cooks up a storm at last year's Food and Drink Festival
Jean-Christophe Novelli cooks up a storm at last year's Food and Drink Festival

WIGAN Food and Drink Festival has been saved from the axe!

Despite proving hugely popular, next year’s event was recently cancelled due to a fall-off in crucial sponsorship.

But a spectacular reversal has been performed after new business sponsors came to the stricken festival’s aid.

Three local food industry companies have teamed up to perform the rescue.

Martland Mill-based Euromark, who specialise in food manufacturing marking and coding solutions, will now be the Festival’s Principal Partner in 2013.

And Wigan’s famous Poole’s Pies and curry producers Patak’s will join a number of other local businesses as sponsors.

Euromark managing director, Shaun Luck, said: “We have known of the Wigan Food and Drink Festival for a number of years and we are aware of the contribution it makes to Wigan. So we couldn’t see it finish.

“This festival will give us the chance to support local businesses and the community to shine a spotlight on local restaurants, talented chefs, suppliers and producers in a genuine celebration of what is good about Wigan borough’s food and drink industry.

“We’re exceptionally honoured to be involved in serving up what we hope will be a delicious festival.”

Chief Executive of Poole’s Pies, Neil Court-Johnston agreed.

He said: “The Wigan Food and Drink Festival is probably the largest event that the borough now puts on and attracts over 40,000 people each year, contributing more than £250,000 to the local food and drink sector. We didn’t want to see an event of this value lost.”

Gary Brookes, General Manager of Leigh based AB World Foods, producers of Patak’s, added: “Not only does it prove that there is interest in food and drink locally, but it also shows that there is a real pride and passion in Wigan’s food heritage. We share that, and that’s why we wanted to help it happen next year.”

Thanks to the new funding the 10-day treat will take place for its sixth year from Thursday February 28 to Sunday March 10.

The theme of 2013 will beLancashire on a Plate” and organisers at Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust are promising a bigger and better programme of events.

Festival Organiser, Keith Bergman from WLCT, said he was thrilled to have the event back on.

“Everyone here was disappointed to have to cancel the event. So much hard work has gone into establishing the festival as one of the largest and most popular in the region. It was heart-warming to receive emails and posts on social media all supporting the festival and wanting us to find a way of getting it back on.

“Thanks to the generosity of our new business partners and our existing sponsors, we are pleased to say that we will once again, be cooking up a treat for the people of Wigan next March.”

Other sponsors of the Wigan Food and Drink Festival in 2013 include Metrofresh. Wigan Town Centre Management, Ellsey’s and Co, Grand Arcade, Sharpy’s Fish and Chip Restaurant, Lancashire Publications and Standish Media Services.