MARLBOROUGH has been awarded Fairtrade status for its commitment to Fairtrade principles and practice, following a year-long campaign.

As part of the initiative many retailers in the town, including Waitrose and Tesco, have started to sell more than four Fairtrade products.

The town council has passed a resolution agreeing to support Marlborough becoming a Fairtrade town and is serving Fairtrade tea and coffee. While the campaign has also secured support from the churches, faith groups and schools.

Adam Gardner, communities campaigns manager at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome Marlborough to the Fairtrade movement which now unites over 1,500 communities worldwide, taking practical steps to making a fairer world trade system a reality."

Allison Burden, who leads the Marlborough Fairtrade steering group, said: "This news is really encouraging. It is the result of the town council, retailers and community campaigners coming together to commit to promoting, serving and selling Fairtrade products.

"It also represents an important contribution to small-scale farmers in the developing world, because Fairtrade ensures they earn stable incomes and have long-term contracts with companies.”

Marlborough now joins other communities in Wiltshire with Fairtrade status including Devizes and Bradford on Avon and will be collaborating with them to get Fairtrade status for the county.

The announcement from the Fairtrade Foundation is timely since it falls during Fairtrade fortnight when the big supermarkets in Marlborough are both promoting and increasing the variety of Fairtrade products in stock.

Marlborough retailers can also celebrate with community members at an exclusive reception on Thursday (March 10th) from 6.30pm at the town hall. This event was already planned to enable them to network and learn more about Fairtrade in Marlborough.

Members of the public are also welcome on Thursday to join the annual Marlborough Brandt lecture at 8pm entitled ‘To Bomb or not to Bomb, that is the Wrong Question – Give Peace a Chance!’ by Harriet Lamb.

Ms Lamb was director of the Fairtrade Foundation in the UK before moving to Bonn, Germany to become director of Fairtrade International and is now the director of the peace brokering organisation International Alert.