Family newsagent says goodbye

HE KEPT the promise he made to his mother nearly three decades ago and now it is the end of an era for the owner of a newsagent in Rushmere St Andrew.

HE KEPT the promise he made to his mother nearly three decades ago and now it is the end of an era for the owner of a newsagent in Rushmere St Andrew.

When Alwyn Basford, owner of Beechwood Stores, Woodbridge Road, was asked by his mother, Joan, to take over the family business, he agreed - but said only until he was 60.

Now in his 60th year, it will not just be his birthday he will be celebrating, he will also be saying goodbye to 60 years of living in, working in and owning the family run newsagent.

The shop, built in 1928, was bought by Mr Basford's grandfather in 1940 and passed down to Mr Basford's father, Philip.

Alywn Basford worked in the shop for his mother during the sixties, getting to know the customers from a young age.

He said: “There is one lady, who is now in a nursing home at the age of 92. She has known me since I was a boy of five or six.”

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In 1974 Mr Basford met his wife, Carolynne, and in 1979 the couple married and took over the business.

True to his word, Mr Basford has remained loyal to the family business and said that the decision to retire was a hard one. He said: “I thought hard about the decision but now I am ready for a change.”

The couple have bought a motor home and plan to go travelling as they have not had a holiday for 12 years.

Like many other shop owners, the Basford's have noticed a change in people's shopping habits due to the ever increasing amount of supermarkets opening up in the area.

The shop used to provide the community with their groceries until demand dropped.

Mr Basford said the sale of newspapers was one of the reasons they were able to keep going for so long but over the last 15 years he has noticed a change in that too.

Although this is an emotional time for the couple, it has been made easier by the fact that they have received planning permission to change the use of the building from a shop to residential.

Mr Basford said: “We will convert it into part of the bungalow so that we can live in the premises.

“I want to thank all the customers for their support and loyalty, and for all the cards. I would also like to thank our paper boys and girls over the years past and present.”

N Do you know the Basford family? What are your memories? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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