THE FRUIT and veg stall which has been on Redditch Market for 82 years is to close for the final time this Saturday, October 13.
Sue Freeman is retiring after 52 years and the family business’s main focus will now be their Freeman & Sons shop in Alcester.
It was in 1936 when the first market stall was opened in Redditch town centre by Fred and Eileen Freeman.
Back then the market was in Red Lion Street before moving to the back of the bus station in the late 1960s.
The market then moved to Royal Square, where Debenhams is now and Freemans also had stalls in the old Redditch Food Hall.
Sue has run the stall from when she met husband-to-be, Roy, at the age of 19.
Such was their dedication, the pair even got married at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon – on October 27, 1971 – because it was half-day closing.
Roy’s best man Mick Rowe worked alongside him on the stall and Mick’s wife Maureen also worked in the family business.
When Roy passed away on August 24, 2013, at the age of 69, a bench, complete with plaque, was put up in the town centre in his memory.
Sue said: “I have so many great memories and we have made lots of good friends.
“I really will miss being on the stall.”
She said she had seen many changes over the years. The family still grow a lot of their fruit and veg on farms in Hunt End, Offenham and Studley, as they have always done.
But as times and trends changed, more fruit was imported, offering a wider range of produce throughout the year.
“Despite this we have always tried our best to support local businesses,” Sue said.
There was also a time when the stall sold poultry on it as well.
Sue and Roy had four children – Anthony, Stephen, Stuart and Angela – and 13 grandchildren.
Their sons and daughter were all introduced to the stall from a very young age.
Stuart said: “I think I spent time on there from about four years-old – Redditch Market has been our lives and it is going to be strange not having a presence here.
“We have being serving different generations of the same families for years.
“Our family cannot walk around Redditch without being recognised.
“We want to say a massive thank you to all the loyal customers who have come to us and supported us over the years.
“We could not have done it without them.”
Angela added: “Even though it is a big town, Redditch has a close-knit community you would associate more with much smaller places.
“Closing the stall has probably been the hardest decision the family has had to take and we did it with a very heavy heart.”