Shopkeeper closes Twyford village store after running it for 50 years

Christine Bates, who is closing Twyford's village shop after running it for 50 years EMN-190504-142056001
Christine Bates, who is closing Twyford's village shop after running it for 50 years EMN-190504-142056001
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A woman who has run the village shop at Twyford for 50 years is to close up for the last time tomorrow (Saturday).

Christine Bates (80) has been behind the counter at the King Street convenience store since August 1, 1969.

The sign for Twyford's village shop, which is closing after being a feature of the village for the last century EMN-190504-153241001

The sign for Twyford's village shop, which is closing after being a feature of the village for the last century EMN-190504-153241001

Remarkably, only two families have run the shop since it first opened a century ago, Christine and her mother, Annie, succeeding the Vines family.

Miss Bates said the decision to close was because of her own ill health and the lack of support from villagers, in the face of competition from online supermarket deliveries.

The building, which dates back to around 1880, has been sold and is likely to be converted into two homes.

Miss Bates told the Melton Times: “I’m glad to be closing because my health isn’t very good.

The sign for Twyford's village shop, which is closing after being a feature of the village for the last century EMN-190504-153230001

The sign for Twyford's village shop, which is closing after being a feature of the village for the last century EMN-190504-153230001

“I can’t stand for too long because of my arthritis and I’m ready to retire.

“A few people have said they are sorry to see the shop close but the village just doesn’t support it anymore.”

The property is part of a six-bedroom house on Main Street, with the shop unit fronting on to King Street.

It was first used as a shop in the early 1900s by farmer Charlie Vines, his wife Lucy and their daughter Marjorie.

Marjorie eventually took over on her own until Miss Bates took it over with her mum half-a-century ago.

They needed jobs after the family’s tenancy at a farm at Quenby came to an end.

“It was a busy village when we started running the shop - there were two pubs, a post office and litle antique shop, as well as us,” recalled Miss Bates.

“We used to sell a lot of paraffin for heating, we sliced up bacon and we had big 10lb blocks of cheese we would cut up or customers.

“People would come in for a paper, for their milk or bread but these days people travel to shop more and they get things delivered.

“I started making jams and pickles and they were very popular.”

Miss Bates, who never married, will close the shop for good at 4pm tomorrow and then retire to live in a property in the yard at the back.

She added: “I’ve never had the chance to go to any local events because I’ve always been working in the shop so I’m looking forward to retiring now.”