Tom used to sleep under the family market stall as a baby

Fond farewell: Tom and Kath Wilson are retiring from Chorley Market
Fond farewell: Tom and Kath Wilson are retiring from Chorley Market

A Chorley market trader who has worked at the stall for all of his life has finally decided to call it a day.

Tom Wilson used to sleep under his stall as a baby, so it was no surprise when he took over the business from his parents in 1986.

Now, he and wife Kath are saying goodbye to the customers and the tights, gloves and socks that they sell to welcome in the next chapter of their lives - retirement.

Tom, 63, said: “The stall has been in my family for over 60 years. It was my grandparents’ and then my parents’, and I used to sleep under the tables when I was a baby.

“I started working in the family business when I left school, and we’ve had bases in Chorley, Darwen and Morecambe.”

For the past few years, the couple have worked in Chorley Market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“We’ll miss the friendship of the customers,” Tom said. “Some have been coming for donkey’s years and even give us Christmas cards, so it’ll be sad to say bye to them.

“We just feel we’ve done our fair share of work now though.”

The couple made the snap-decision to bid a fond farewell to the business after returning from a sunny holiday in the Costa del Sol last Friday.

Kath, also 63, said: “We got home and someone asked if we were happy to be back.

“When we realised we weren’t particularly looking forward to going back to work, we just made the choice to leave.

“It was as simple and as quick as that.”

Kath, who grew up with Tom in Wigan, worked at the Chorley stall as a Saturday girl when she was 18.

They married in January 1971, and she’s worked alongside her husband ever since.

“We will really miss it,” she said. “It’s been the biggest part of our lives.

“We’ve seen a lot of traders leave or retire over the years, so now it’s our turn.”

Tom and Kath, who don’t have any children, have no plans for a big send-off, but are looking forward to more holidays, gardening, walking and days out together.

The stall will be taken over by 22-year-old James Brennand before Easter.

James’s parents and brother currently work at the ladies’ clothes stall next to Tom and Kath’s, and a shop just on the outskirts of the Covered Market.