A fond farewell to a market staple – After 79 years, Wards fruit and veg trades in Biggleswade for the last time

Wards fruit and veg stall mainstays Doreen Kimber, Paul Burkett and Darren Ward. Photo: Courtesy of

Wards fruit and veg stall mainstays Doreen Kimber, Paul Burkett and Darren Ward. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Burkett - Credit: Archant

A Biggleswade market grocery stall dating back to before the Second World War has finally traded in the town for the last time.

Wards fruit and veg stall, a family-run staple of the town market since 1938 – stopping only during the war – traded in Biggleswade for the last time on Saturday, March 25.

The decision to stop operating here has come due to mainstay Doreen Kimber’s retirement at the age of 82, and Darren Ward’s decision to change career.

Owner Paul Burkett will continue to trade at his shops in Cottenham and Cambridge.

Suggestions that Paul was retiring have been laughed off by the man himself, who told the Comet: “I wish I was retiring, but I’m a bit young for that!”

Biggleswade Town Council has passed a motion thanking Wards for their record ‘on our market for 100 years’, and wishing them well.

Those sentiments were echoed by customers, with many leaving comments on the ‘We Love Biggleswade’ Facebook group, saying the market would no longer be the same.

Most Read

One wrote: “Best fruit and veg in town, plus always a smile and joke when being served. Priceless, will be missed.”

Another summed the news up as ‘so sad, the end of an era’.

Doreen worked on the stall for 27 years, with her granddaughter Kerry Robinson joining her for 15 of those years after joining as a 15-year-old.

Kerry said: “I loved it. The Wards were lovely people to work with and great friends, and we had loads of laughs, even when we were standing in –8 cold weather.

“We were all dedicated to our regular customers. They would always go out of there way to get certain fruits or veg from another origin – and they even delivered customers shopping if they couldn’t manage it home.

“I worked there for 15 years and left when I had my children, but I still went down there every week for my vegetables.

“I’m mostly proud of my nan Doreen, who had been working on there 27 years and has now left at the age of 82.

“There fruit and vegetables on the stall were outstanding, and the market laughs and banter with customers old and new I won’t forget.”