Chorley's Big Lamp Chippy closes for final time
A popular Chorley chippy boss has retired after 50 years working in the town - and his much-loved chippy has closed for good.
Mustapha Aitbouzit, 73, closed the doors of the Big Lamp Chippy and Cafe, on Pall Mall, Chorley, at 7.30pm yesterday,.
He admits it was a hard decision to close and he will feel sad about it, but he said: "I'm 73 now and I felt the time had come.
"I was looking for someone else to take it over but things didn't work out.
"The thing I will miss the most is the customers.
"So many of them have become close friends and it has felt like a family place to me.
"I have had three generations of people coming in to buy fish and chips!"
Mustapha first came to England from his village near Tangiers, Morocco in 1968 with a work permit to work at a food establishment in Southport.
He said: "I had £30 that my dad gave me back in Morocco and I couldn't speak a word of English.
"It was tough but I was determined to work hard and get on - and today I am a businessman with property.
"You can make it if you work hard and look after things properly."
He started his fish and chip enterprises in Chorley back in 1971 when he purchased Brown's Fish and Chips shop on Parker Street.
Mustapha soon became a popular character there, welcoming customers like old friends, "even if I didn't even know them," he said.
And three years later he opened a second fish and chip shop, the Big Lamp.
For many years the Big Lamp was run by his wife Jean and he ran Browns, but he sold the latter five years ago and sadly, Jean died just over two years ago.
Browns is still up and running, under new owners.
That left Mustapha running the Big Lamp, where many of the old customers from Browns would come
On Saturday night was a poignant occasion, with some old friends coming in one last time.
Lisa Case and Jayne Evans worked with Mustapha at the Big Lamp, serving customers and helping to run it.
Lisa, 45, of St Gregory's Place, said before the final evening shift: "I'm getting tearful just thinking about this place closing.
"It's been like a family because everyone in Chorley knows the Big Lamp.
"Me, Jayne and Mustapha will have one last fish supper before the lights go out tonight.
"We've loved every minute of it."