TRADERS' champion Val Houghton aims to make Atherton a better place.

Better for residents, better for traders and her recipe for a booming town centre is to resurrect the town's once-thriving market which has slipped into oblivion.

"I have lived in Atherton for 50 years and my business has been in Atherton for almost 23 years - I have a passion for the town and the people," said Mrs Houghton who runs Houghton Homes estate agents in Church Street.

As chairman of Atherton Business Partnership, which represents the town's traders, her crusade has been boosted by the success of last year's Christmas market.

"We were told nobody would come to Atherton and support it but over 2,000 people passed through and people were coming up top us afterwards asking when we were having a another similar event.

"Well on December 1 we are having another Christmas market and already its booked-up with 32 stalls ranging from a hog roast to food, jewellery and gift stalls.

"But ultimately I'd like to see a regular, full scale market back in town.

"Markets attract people to the town and other traders enjoy the spin-off and the whole community benefits."

*Atherton Business Partnership meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the CAB office, Bolton Road.