Million up for newsagents

NEWSAGENTS Michael and Freda Girling have sold nearly one million Evening Stars and today celebrate an incredible 46 years of selling the paper.Are they the longest serving duo behind the counter selling Stars – and is their shop the oldest independent business doing so? We want you to let us know if you know different.

NEWSAGENTS Michael and Freda Girling have sold nearly one million Evening Stars and today celebrate an incredible 46 years of selling the paper.

Are they the longest serving duo behind the counter selling Stars – and is their shop the oldest independent business doing so? We want you to let us know if you know different.

Michael and Freda had only been married a few months when they moved to Felixstowe to run their shop in Langer Road.

That was in January 1958, and after all these years they are still enjoying running the store, although they are thinking about retirement.

"We have been thinking about it recently – it's been a lot of years and I think we have done enough. Our aim would be to sell the shop as a going concern as it's a good little business," said Mrs Girling.

"It is incredible to think that it is 46 years – we even had a congratulations card from a customer!"

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Selling the Star has undoubtedly attracted many customers over the years to the store, which is also the area's grocery shop and where people will turn for those goods they run out of or need in a hurry.

Mr Girling worked for a newsagents in Nacton Road, Ipswich, marking the early morning papers when his employers offered him a move to the seaside and the chance to run their shop in Langer Road.

The couple jumped at the chance to have a go on their own, and five years later when the shop was put up for sale they were enjoying it so much they bought it.

"And we have stuck with it – though we didn't expect to be here after all these years," said Mrs Girling.

"We made connections in Felixstowe. We made many friends and the children were born, went to school here and had friends of their own, and so we stayed. We have really enjoyed it here and love the town."

The couple, both in their 60s, have six children and now have 13 grandchildren – ranging from ten months old to 22.

Times have changed over the years in the resort's West End. In the late 50s and early 60s, holidaymakers would cram on to trains from Ipswich, stopping at Beach Station and shopping at Girling's on their way to a day on the beach or at the beach huts at Manor Terrace.

Their store stocked everything from ice cream to paraffin for beach huts stoves.

At one time they supplied fresh fruit to passenger ferries operating out of the port.

As the years have rolled by there are less holidaymakers in guest houses – although the caravan parks are larger and many shop users at the store – and more young families have made the area their home.

n Do you know of anyone or any shop selling Stars longer? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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