A MARKET stall that has been a staple of the town for more than 60 years has closed for business.

George the Sockman, affectionately named after George Fenton who originated the stall.

On Wednesday, Anthony Fenton, who took over trading duties from his dad after he retired in 2004, bid a fond farewell to the stall that began with his father.

“My dad started on a bus with a suitcase at the original old market.

“When the semi-open market got built he moved over there, where I started working with him when I left school at 16 years old, and then I eventually took over the stall in 2004 when my dad retired.”

Anthony, 43, has been trading in Barnsley for more than 16 years but believes that it is now time for a change.

“It’s my last day this week, I’m closing up shop and spending some more time with my family.

“My partner is back working again, and we have a little boy called George, who was named after my dad before he passed away.

“It has just come to a time now that seems right, with the changes to the market and changes of shifts. I have been working four days a week and didn’t want to go to six.

“I have a young family and obviously with the rents getting higher and major new developments happening, it felt it was the right time for a change.”

Since taking over the stall, Anthony has experienced a lot of changes to the town centre, from the semi-open market to the newly developed Glass Works indoor market.

“The market has all changed – obviously times have changed and moved on with people using the internet and online shopping.

“But I have still loved it for all my life.

“The highlight for me has been the customers, the regulars, the banter we have all day and seeing everyone’s happy faces – I’ve absolutely loved every single minute of it.”

Although George the Sockman is no longer open for business, Anthony has been reluctant to leave the customers that have stayed loyal to his and his father’s stall for more than 60 years.

“I want to say a massive thank you to every single customer throughout the years, I’ve made a lot of good friends in the traders too.

“I’ve seen customers grow up, grow old, and I’ve had a lot of my dad’s old customers too, so it really has passed through the generations.

“I’m going to miss coming and I’m going to miss all of my friends at the market.

“But I’m still going to come in and buy my meat and my vegetables, and keep supporting them the best I can.”