Delia's favourite chippie retires

The owner of a Suffolk family business who can boast Norwich City director Delia Smith among his leading customers is to retire – so he can spend more time watching Ipswich Town.

The owner of a Suffolk family business who can boast Norwich City director Delia Smith among his leading customers is to retire – so he can spend more time watching Ipswich Town.

John Bond's family have run the fish and chip shop WW Bond and Sons in Needham Market since 1937, when his father William first started.

But now Mr Bond – whose unrelated namesake managed the Canaries from 1973 to 1980 - is retiring and selling the business on.

Mr Bond, 65, retires tomorrow and will continue to live locally, but will now have more time to watch Ipswich Town and practice his golf.

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He said: "I support Ipswich Town, but I have to leave before the final whistle to get back to the shop. Now I will be able to see the whole game.

"I have had people bringing cards in and people wishing me a happy retirement. The shop has been in the Bond family for 67 years, so it will be a wrench to leave, but we are looking forward to a bit more leisure time.

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Delia said: "We have been going there for 33 years, it's always been fantastic and very high quality. Our house (locally) started off as a weekend cottage. "We would drive down from London on a Friday evening and look in at Bondies on the way home. We have become friends.

"Sometimes I watch my programme with his chips on my lap, he does really good fish, is the best fish and chip shop in the world. You always have to queue."

William Bond bought a former bakery shop in the town and turned it in to a fish and chip business, in Bridge Street, just off the High Street. Mr Bond had run a fish and chip shop in Ipswich for eight years before moving to Needham Market in about 1937 to start his new venture.

He used to drive around the surrounding villages starting during the war years, delivering fish and chips to people living outside the small town, until 1965. When he retired in his late 50s his sons took over, with John carrying on after his brother left to concentrate on running his driving school business.

John Bond ran the business from about 20-years-old and his sister eldest sister Joan worked alongside him for 40 years at the shop, which uses mostly fresh local fish, much caught of the region's coastline.

Among Mr Bond's customers for 30 years is celebrity chef Delia Smith who calls in after a Norwich City match.

The shop has changed over the years, from the days of shovelling coal into the cooking machines to the flick of a switch which now turns the gas cookers on.

Mr Bond said: "We wish to thank people for their custom and friendship and all the kindness they have shown us through the years. I have loved meeting people and the distance some people comes surprises me.

"Over the years there have been changes, including giving people more choice these days. People used to ask for fish and chips and would have cod, but now there's other fish including plaice and haddock. The customers are really nice - I will miss them.''

John's wife Margaret, a teacher, said: "I first met him in the chip shop when I called in for some food, while on teaching practice. He had a shovel of coal when I saw him.''

The shop will be open for business as usual after tomorrow as Mr Bond has sold it as a going concern to a local businessman.

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