Southwold: Newsagent John Purdy steps down after 27 years
Newsagent John Purdy is expecting a sad day today – as he steps down from his business after nearly 27 years.
Despite the long hours and hard work, the 79-year-old – a loyal servant to his community and a keen supporter of newspapers – says retirement was one of the toughest decisions of his life.
East Anglian Daily Times editor Terry Hunt visited Mr Purdy and his wife Patricia, 73, to thank them for their service to the community and present them with a card and flowers.
Mr Purdy said: “I am sad and I will miss the job and the people I come into contact with every day and have got to know over the years. I have really enjoyed it.
“But there is a big part of me, too, that is looking forward to doing the things I have never been able to do because I have been so busy working.
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“I have lots to keep me busy. Retired people come into my shop all the time and say they never know how they found time to go to work!”
Mr Purdy took over his shop, Purdy’s Newsagents of Southwold, in 1987 after spending 31 years in the construction industry with building company William Denny Ltd.
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His first years were tough with the country going through economic troubles and interest rates high, but he stuck at the task, relishing the challenge.
“Being a newsagent is hard work – we have worked an average of 15 hours a day every day over those years,” he said.
“I have always tried to be professional and there has not been a day gone by that we haven’t delivered the papers – whatever the weather!”
Part of the job has been keeping an eye on his community – especially looking out for customers and their homes, making sure they are all right, being a good neighbour.
His shop has been a “community hub”, too, attracting regulars to swap the news and gossip, and often the first stopping place for holidaymakers wanting to know what was happening in the town.
It was one of the things that impressed the judges when he won the Guardian Newsagent of the Year Award two years ago.
Now keen fisherman Mr Purdy, who has six children and five grandchildren, has sold the business and will be moving to Wrentham, spending more time with his family and on some of his hobbies, including breeding chickens, running two allotments and looking after a huge garden.
He said: “I’ve got a terrific library of books to read, too, and I might do painting again. I will keep active.”