A breath of fresh air swept through Wimbledon last weekend.

As the ground began to soak up a much needed drink, I reached for my brolly and told my eldest we are off to buy some freshly made cakes.

Of course, my car didn’t start after three months of utter neglect, but that didn’t stop us. Instead of walking to the woods, we headed for Wimbledon town, where Love Wimbledon’s Local Market on The Piazza was reopening. We were immediately greeted by a giant planter usually found in the grounds of Wimbledon Tennis.

The traders were smiling and busily helping customers select the finest bread, pasta and cakes on their stalls. I headed straight for Olivier’s Bakery to see if they ironically had olive bread, a luxury I had not tasted since lockdown. Not impressed by my first choice, my daughter pulled me to the chocolate muffins on the Luso Brazil stand.

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Love Wimbledon's Local Market on the Piazza

The owner, Rute de Sousa Diniz, saw through my mask and knew I was smiling at the choice of cakes on offer. She introduced me to her brother Manuel, who she hadn’t seen since March. He had come to support his sister.

As he filled a box with treats for me and the kids, Rute told me the lockdown had been long and the Love Wimbledon Market was missed. “It is almost like a therapy to come out and set up again,” she explained and was delighted so many people came to support the traders.

Pabellon Vanenzuelan food, Lukka Boutique Cakes and Compa Food agreed that although the early morning start was a shock to the system, it was great to be back.

As the rain began to fall gently, I spotted two gentlemen standing strong outside Morrisons, collecting food donations from shoppers for the Dons Action Local Group. Proud AFC Wimbledon supporters Sudev Joshi and Chris Hutchinson were undeterred by the change in weather to complete their mission.

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Wimbledon Village Farmers Market

As the queue for the Wimbledon food bank gets longer - the Dons Local Action Group are becoming heavily entwined in the very fabric of our new landscape. When we pass these brave soldiers at their new stations, it is more important than ever to add donations to our weekly shopping list and place them on their table.

As the much loved Wimbledon Chase market awaits planning permission, Kingston Market is slowly returning. Even though it is just a stone's throw away from Wimbledon, I have just learnt that the fruit and veg, bakery, fishmongers and coffee shop in the ancient market never closed and the florist has been open the last couple of weeks! Gradually, all the traders are returning to a phased approach. How wonderful it will be to spend a morning by the River Thames and pick up some fresh produce on the way home.

Also, to the delight of many, the Wimbledon Village Farmers Market began trading last Sunday and will continue every Sunday from this day forth.

Tucked away behind Robert Holmes estate agency, the market came back to life. With new safe distancing measures in place, traders will rotate weekly. No more than 20 people in the market at any one time, locals were happy queuing two metres apart waiting their turn.

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Wimbledon Village Farmers Market

The man who started this brilliant addition to the Village; Simon Greig was unsure if the market would succeed in the current climate. Unlike my car, he said “the market purred back to life, thanks to the support of the people of Wimbledon and the determined traders.”

As we slowly and steadily step out of our homes, there is a simple joy of a summer’s day walk to pick up some fruit, a fresh loaf of bread, a small homemade cake and a bunch of flowers.

It may feel we have stepped back in time 100 years, but with larger shops preparing to open their doors, there is a snippet of time – where food markets and independent traders are the lifeblood of our hometown. Long may it continue and forever we must give back to them what they give our community; an abundance of goodness from the heart.