FINANCIAL support is being requested for a new Thomas Hardy event in Dorchester.

A Hardy Victorian Fair is being planned for Sunday June 2nd as part of the annual celebrations to mark the author's birth on that date in 1840.

It will include the closure of both High West and High East Streets to traffic from 9am to 6pm with the annual wreath laying at the author's statue at the Top o' Town at 1pm.

Cllr Alistair Chisholm who is chairing the organising group succeeded in getting the town council to make a £750 donation towards the costs at a management committee meeting on Tuesday evening. It will help pay for setting up the event which, Mr Chisholm believes, will attract people to the town and make the annual celebrations more 'exciting and vibrant.'

In a letter to the town council from fellow committee member Cllr Gareth Jones the group says it hopes to broaden the knowledge of Hardy and to contribute to the attraction of Dorchester as a cultural tourist destination, an aim which is shared by the town council.

A draft programme for the day includes Hardy plays and poetry, heritage tours, musical groups, military re-enactment, steam engine, Victorian street market, Victorian tales, museum/artefact display, a local retailer event, food and drink stalls, horse drawn vehicles and a dressing up competition for adults and children.

Cllr Chisholm says he believes the event will cost about £5,000 to put on, including having to pay for the street closures, event staff, publicity and promotion.

The Dorchester Joint Heritage committee has agreed to meet the estimated £1,500 cost of closing the roads.