THE last time that the Witney Trade Fair was held, in 2005, it attracted a turnout of more than 60,000 people.

That shows how important the event used to be and why its return should be welcomed by the town.

Organisers expect at least 100 businesses to exhibit at The Leys recreation ground, where a 2,000 sq m marquee will be set up for the event.

At a time of economic uncertainty, and with more major chains moving into the town centre, this is a great chance for local businesses, large and small, to showcase what they have to offer.

The fair’s history is linked to Witney’s association with wool and blankets, from the days when the town was an internationally-renowned centre of the textile trade.

That reputation may now be consigned to history but this event is a great opportunity for small businesses to make a name for themselves once more.

We would urge businesses to take this opprtunity to promote themselves and for the public to go along on September 18 and 19 to find out about some of the firms operating in our community which are helping to drive the economy.

They have just as important a role to play as major employers such as Abbott Diabetes Care, whose launch of a pioneering test system for diabetes, eliminating finger-prick checks, which we report about on the opposite page, means a welcome boost to jobs.