TOP quality bargains and a friendly atmosphere make Widnes Market special, say stallholders.

Widnes Market has been named the Best Small Outdoor Market for 2014.

Traders beat off competition from more than 600 markets across the UK to win the prestigious award at the annual conference of The National Association of British Market Authorities.

The market, run by Halton Council, has more than 70 covered stalls selling everything from food and bedding to socks, cosmetics, plants and toys, and attracts shoppers from miles around.

Traders often raise money for charity and support Widnes Foodbank.

John Joyce, who sells socks and underwear, said: “I’ve been working on the outdoor market for 41 years.

“A lot of us moved from the old market. We’re like one big family.

“I think the community spirit is brilliant.

Neil McLoughlin, who sells childrens wear, said: “We’re a small, friendly market. Lots of us sell chain store merchandise. We give people excellent value and help the community to save money.

“It’s a great market and it’s all under cover. People like coming here, happy shoppers.”

Linda Walsh, aged 54, who set up her own business selling childrens wear in October, said: “Everyone helps each other.

“There is a lovely atmosphere.”

Stacey Wood, aged 25, whose dad runs the meat wagon, said:”We’re all one family. We try our hardest.”

Halton Clr Ron Hignett, board member for physical environment, said: “The traders work very hard in all weathers to ensure that customers get the best quality at the best prices.

“I would like to thank them all and the market management for their hard work and dedication.”

The outdoor market opens on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There is a flea market on Wednesday.

Watch our video below to find out what the traders think.