‘Vital’ market man in Yarmouth given top award
- Credit: Supplied
A stalwart who has been at the heart of Great Yarmouth market for nearly 40 years has been honoured with a national award from the National Market Traders' Association.
Michael Beck, 53, of Ormesby, started working on Bob Walton's fruit and vegetable stall at the age of 15 – but he was forced to give up work after he was seriously injured in a road traffic accident in 1987.
Despite his disabilities, Michael continues to help out on the market in small but vital ways, such as watching traders' stands when they visit the toilet, fetching them refreshments, and getting them change at the banks.
He also runs a Lottery syndicate and Spot the Ball competition, raising thousands of pounds for the local branch and other good causes, and he brings some festive cheer by dressing up at Christmas and other special occasions.
In recognition of his services, Michael was nominated by the association's local branch for the John Carter/Harry Cross Memorial Cup, which recognises people who have gone the extra mile for markets and market traders.
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The award was presented to him on the Market Place recently by Joe Harrison, the chief executive of the association, in the presence of Cllr Malcolm Bird, the mayor of the Great Yarmouth borough.
Michael said: 'For what I've done for this place it's brilliant. I've done 38 years now. The market is my life.'
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Michael Anderson, the local branch secretary, said: 'Without him the market wouldn't be here, and if the market weren't here he wouldn't be here – it keeps him alive.
'From the traders' point of view, he is a massive asset. He's a genuine help to everybody. He is here in the morning first thing and he's last to go at night.'
Cllr Bird said: 'Michael is one of the most well-known characters on the Market Place and has devoted so much to the traders and the market over the years. This national recognition of his services is greatly deserved.'