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Market trader carries on despite market shut down

PUBLISHED: 15:22 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:22 30 March 2020

Market trader, William 'Willie' Weston, owner of WJ Shellfish. Picture: Active Fakenham/Matthew Usher

Market trader, William 'Willie' Weston, owner of WJ Shellfish. Picture: Active Fakenham/Matthew Usher

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Despite markets closing across the country, one Norfolk tradesman says his business is moving forward in the face of coronavirus.

Creake Abbey farmers market. Photo: Jake Sugden.Creake Abbey farmers market. Photo: Jake Sugden.

William Weston, also know as Willie, 63, from Blakeney, is the owner of WJ Shellfish. With markets closing Mr Weston was facing the prospect of not getting any income.

But the 63-year-old wanted to help people across the county who could be stuck at home. He said: “You can either do nothing or stand up and get on with it.

“You can only get beat if you let yourself get beat, and I did not want to let the people down.”

He visits markets across Norfolk, including Fakenham on Thursdays and Sundays, selling his fresh fish, but has now transformed his business into a delivery service.

Willie Weston's stall which features in markets across Norfolk, inculduing Fakenham. Picutre: Louise TempleWillie Weston's stall which features in markets across Norfolk, inculduing Fakenham. Picutre: Louise Temple

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Mr Weston could have stopped his business during the pandemic, but insisted on not resting on his laurels, and he still has bills to pay.

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He said: “We are Norfolk people and we get on with it, we got off our back and want it.”

The response to it has made him very busy, with the phone being red hot over the last few weeks. He has also introduced a new contactless service, where customers are not allowed to enter his shop.

Market trader, William 'Willie' Weston, owner of WJ Shellfish. Picture: Active Fakenham/Matthew UsherMarket trader, William 'Willie' Weston, owner of WJ Shellfish. Picture: Active Fakenham/Matthew Usher

Even though the market was part of his livelihood, Mr Weston believed closing the market was the right choice. He said: “I’m very pleased with the market closing. I was disgusted with the number of people at the market, people were too close.”

Fakenham town council annouced on Tuesday, March 24, it was closing their market until further notice. A spokesperson from the council said: “It is a very sad time for Fakenham but for safety reasons of the public and the traders it is best not to hold the market.”

Delivery is nothing new to Mr Weston, as he would often take supplies to people who could not make it to the market.

He was handing out his telephone number three weeks ago and the response to the service has made him feel that he is doing the right thing for people during this time.

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