HUNDREDS of shoppers have helped celebrate South Lakeland retailers as part of the Gazette’s ‘Independents’ Day’ campaign.

Kendal town centre was bustling this morning as residents turned out to support their local shopkeepers.

Children carrying helium-filled balloons filled the main shopping streets, while adults were able to take away hessian bags filled with vouchers and offers, courtesy of the Gazette.

Patricia Nichollson, of Kendal, said: “It’s a wonderful idea.

“When I was younger it was all independent shops.

“I think it’s a great idea to encourage people to give their business to the smaller shops.”

Launched to coincide with the American holiday, the day has been organised by the newspaper to champion the diversity of goods and services on offer on Kendal’s high street, while recognising the skills of local traders who have kept their heads above water in difficult times.

Nicky Lawless, from Kendal, said: “My husband has a company in the area and we always shop locally and use local people where possible.

“We need to support each other.

“I think this campaign is brilliant.”

The initiative has also been supported by MP Tim Farron, who said: "I think that Independents' Day is a great idea and I hope that it will boost local businesses and support independent traders.

"It's down to independent traders that we are bucking the trend in South Lakeland, and they deserve our strong support.

“I’m delighted to be supporting the campaign and I want to thank the Gazette for all their work on this."

Gazette staff will be in Kendal town centre all day handing out the hessian goody-bags and balloons.