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Bury St Edmunds: End of an era on horizon as last town gun shop announces closure plans

PUBLISHED: 00:34 19 July 2011

Derek Last owner of Anglia Arms Gun Shop in Risbygate Street Bury St Edmunds is closing down after 35 years to retire.

Derek Last owner of Anglia Arms Gun Shop in Risbygate Street Bury St Edmunds is closing down after 35 years to retire.

FOR the past 36 years, Derek Last has supplied outdoor lovers from far and wide with guns and country wear.

Once one of three gun shops owners in Bury St Edmunds, Mr Last has for years been the only remaining gun shop - Anglia Arms - in the town.

He has now announced his retirement - heralding the end of an era for the west Suffolk market town.

Speaking about his decision, Mr Last, 68, said he was sad to be closing down his Risbygate Street store, which stocks guns, fishing tackle and count apparel, but felt now was the right time.

“You do get to know lots of people over the years,” he said: “Virtually every day we’ve been getting people saying they are sorry to hear I’m going to retire.

“Kids who used to come in with their grandads when they were five or six years old have ended up becoming my future customers.”

“As a gun shop we are finished,” he said. “The banks are not lending people money, the rates have gone up and there’s only so much you can charge the customer. I have been paying the 2.5% VAT since it went up to 20%.”

He said the golden age for his gunshop was when the old cattle market, in what is now the Arc shopping centre, used to operate.

Attracting farmers and country people from across the area, many used to pop into his shop to stock up on supplies.

However, the market’s closure impacted on trade. While he has many loyal customers, Mr Last has decided to retire from the business.

“I just decided to go down this route - I just want a clean break.

“We’ve had a good steady trade over the years though we have had better times in the past.”

Asked what he plans to do in retirement, Mr Last said he was as yet unsure.

He faces a very busy few months as he closes down his store and manages the biggest sale of stock they have ever had.

After nine months of, for no particular reason, referring to our unborn first child as “he” (“how’s he doing in there?” etc), it came to me to make the big reveal to my wife in the moments immediately after the birth, writes Elliot Furniss, from Ipswich.

Emergency services are at the scene of a crash in a north Essex village this morning.

Engineers worked through the night to restore power to households across Suffolk and north Essex after the region was battered by winds of over 70mph.

The Angel Hotel, that closed this week pending a licence review, will reopen today, Friday January 19.

Commuters using Greater Anglia trains in Suffolk and Essex are facing further disruption after the region’s rail network was brought to its knees by yesterday’s storm.

A show celebrating the career of the most successful folk rock duos of all time is coming to the Ipswich Regent.

The mother of a selfless Suffolk fundraiser is continuing her daughter’s fight to persuade women and girls to have smear tests in her honour.

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