THERE will be more stallholders than ever at this year's 15th Woolfest in Cockermouth.

There will also be a special auction, celebrating the event’s Herdwick connections and in memory of sheep farmer Pam Hall, who died last year.

Jan Beadle, a member of The Wool Clip cooperative which organises Woolfest, said: “The cooperative tragically lost one of its founder members – and a familiar face for many Woolfest visitors – when Pam Hall died last year.

"Pam was a sheep farmer in St John’s in the Vale and she used her own hand-dyed Herdwick fleece in her inspirational weaving.

"She spent her last few weeks at the Eden Valley Hospice and so, to celebrate and commemorate her life, we’re inviting Woolfest visitors to create a piece of craftwork on a Herdwick theme, bring it along and donate it to a very special auction with all funds raised going to the hospice."

The annual festival, which takes place in June, brings together wool craft enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond.

Ellie Langley, another organiser, said: "It’s good to be able to have a mix of familiar faces as well as newer businesses, and we have more than ever this year.

"The Mini Stalls for new businesses have proved popular and we’ll have nine of those in 2019 including local Cumbrian crafter, Jane Firth of Ullswater Felt Art with her felted sheep portraits and a couple of new yarn businesses from Shropshire and Caithness."

The Herdwick Sheep Breeders' Association will be exhibiting in the livestock aisles.

There will also be some workshops.

"A lot of our visitors have been asking for a chance to learn and have a go at new skills during Woolfest so we’re offering a couple," said Ellie.

A regular feature of Woolfest is the Carolyn Rawlinson Memorial Stall which gives a young business free access to the Woolfest world.

This year’s recipient is Kathryn Parry of Gull Skull Designs who combines Tunisian crochet techniques and artisan weaving with all sorts of hand-made embellishments to create accessories and homewares.

The festival takes place at Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre on June 28 and 29.

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