A BIANNUAL campaign encouraging shoppers to support independent businesses in Keighley has proved a massive success.

The initiative is masterminded by Keighley BID, set-up just over two years ago to promote the town centre and attract more visitors.

As part of the latest independents venture, shoppers who collected three stamps from any of the 80-plus participating retailers had the chance of sharing in a £1,500 prize fund.

Eight individual prizes were up for grabs.

Winners of the top payout of £750 were Mr and Mrs Mark Yates, who said they were delighted with the windfall.

“I was quite surprised to win!” added Mr Yates.

“I’ve not won anything before, so it’s great.

“And we received the prize just in time for Christmas.”

The couple used part of their prize to buy new furnishings at Rooms, in Hanover Street.

BID manager, Paul Howard, said the campaign helped to showcase the wide range of “unique” independent businesses in the town centre.

“We were delighted at the number of businesses taking part – with more than 80 independent retailers doing their bit to push the campaign,” he added.

“There is so much on offer in Keighley town centre and many hidden gems.

“This initiative helps to encourage shoppers to explore more of their town centre.”

Traders have spoken out in support of the campaign.

Geoff Travers, of Personal Ice in North Street, said: “It is an amazing promotion – we love getting involved.

“It was only last July that one of our customers won the top prize!”

Andrew Foster, of Rooms, said the scheme highlighted the wide variety of independent businesses in the town centre.

He added: “Also, it’s great that we can help our loyal customers by taking part in events such as this.

“We’re really happy that the top prize winner chose Rooms to spend some of their winnings!”

Since it was established, Keighley BID has organised numerous events and activities in the town centre.

And it was praised in a recent top-level Bradford Council report.

BID had helped double the number of town-centre visitors and increased the time people spent there, it said.

Numbers of empty units had dropped from 12.6 per cent to 9.64 per cent, lower than the national average of11.1 per cent.

Also, Keighley companies had saved £12,000 on their business costs due to the “phenomenal” buying power of the 100 BIDs across the UK.

Forthcoming events include children’s theatre workshops, in the Airedale Shopping Centre, on January 27.

The full day of free workshops, including singing and dancing, is being run by Stage 84.

There will also be face painting and balloon modelling.

For more details of activities, visit discoverkeighley.co.uk or search for Discover Keighley on Facebook or twitter.