Downham Market trader putting his feet up after 40 years of running stalls

When Daulat Tumber took over the running of the family stall in the early 1970s, the markets around West Norfolk's towns were 'buzzing'.

The 60-year-old ran stalls at markets in King's Lynn, Wisbech, March, and Hunstanton as well as other towns around Norfolk over the last four decades.

But as he packed away his ladies clothing stall in Downham Market for the final time at the weekend, he spoke of his fears for the future of markets around the county.

'The markets have changed an awful lot in my time,' he said. 'It's not a young man's job anymore because it's hard work.

'The markets I learnt my trade on are completely different to the markets we see today because the supermarkets are doing everything.

'The reason why we were doing so well was because we are established. Would I start a stall today? No because it would be very difficult.

'People coming onto the markets today need to be prepared to do hard work. To start now, you need a good few years without making a profit but after that you will see it will work.'

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Mr Tumber, who lives in Blofield, near Norwich, is now looking forward to enjoying a 'little bit' of gardening and going on a few holidays in his retirement.

He continued: 'I think for markets to continue in our towns, the organisers need to reduce the rent a little to ensure the markets are full.

'Free market days are also a good idea because in the long term, the people running these markets would earn more money because stall holders would keep coming back.'

A constant stream of Mr Tumber's customers visited his stall on Saturday to wish the Blofield resident well.

'It's a very sad day for me because I will miss all my Downham Market customers,' Mr Tumber said. 'I know all my customers by their first names and a lot of them have given me flowers, cards and hugs to say goodbye.'

One of his customers, Maureen Ball said: 'We are going to miss him terribly. He has been more like a friend to us and this market is not going to be the same without him.'

Downham mayor Robin Pegg said: 'It is sad that he is going because he has served the community so well for so many years.

'But I have told him it is also a happy day because he is retiring and that he should go out and enjoy himself.'

John Doyle, chairman of the markets committee in the town, added: 'He will be sadly missed. A lot of the ladies in the town relied on getting clothes from him for years.

'To have been here for 40 years is really fantastic but then again, this is that sort of market.

'We have stalls here which have had three generations working on them. It goes on and on and is one of the reasons why it is still successful.'

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