Hitchin fish and chip shop co-owner retires after 21 years

Alan Doggett outside Hitchin's Town Fryer with his family on his last day. Picture: Glyn Doggett

Alan Doggett outside Hitchin's Town Fryer with his family on his last day. Picture: Glyn Doggett - Credit: Archant

A stalwart Hitchin fish and chip shop co-owner has hung up his apron for the last time after 21 years in the batter business.

Alan Doggett's Town Fryer farewell cake. Picture: Glyn Doggett

Alan Doggett's Town Fryer farewell cake. Picture: Glyn Doggett - Credit: Archant

Alan Doggett, who has run the Town Fryer in Hermitage Road since it opened in February 1996, retired on Friday – with family and friends seeing him off with a special cake decorated like the shop.

Alan, 64, started the Town Fryer alongside business partner Mark Day after the pair had been made redundant from jobs in the insurance sector.

They took a leap of faith and trained as fish fryers to run their own chippy – quite a career move, but one that Alan has never regretted.

He told the Comet: “It’s been a brilliant 21 years, and I shall certainly miss all the customers and friends I have made over the years – but the time had come to hang up my apron as the chip shop demands long hours and I wanted to slow down a bit.

“It’s a wonderful shop that it’s been a pleasure to be a part of, and I wish them all the best for the future.”

Alan Doggett at the door of the Town Fryer in Hitchin's Hermitage Road. Picture: Glyn Doggett

Alan Doggett at the door of the Town Fryer in Hitchin's Hermitage Road. Picture: Glyn Doggett - Credit: Archant

Alan, who immersed himself in his business and many other corners of Hitchin life, has co-owned the shop with Andy Lemm for the last three years.

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He will now sell his share back to Mark – who also runs a fish and chip shop in Stevenage, and will continue to run the Town Fryer alongside Andy.

The Town Fryer confirmed Mark’s return on its Facebook page on Saturday, adding: “We shall ensure that we continue to provide the highest quality fish and chips and shall always strive to be the best fish and chip shop in Hitchin.”

Alan isn’t quite retiring from employment, and will now take on the part-time role of executive manager of Hitchin Markets.

He said: “I’m not yet ready to stop working completely, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Hitchin community in a different way.”

Alan Doggett behind the counter at the Town Fryer with his sons Glyn and Jack. Picture: Glyn Doggett

Alan Doggett behind the counter at the Town Fryer with his sons Glyn and Jack. Picture: Glyn Doggett - Credit: Archant

Alan is also a member of the Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust, a charity which holds Top Field and neighbouring Butts Close in trust.

His son, actor and comic Glyn Doggett, described his retirement as the “end of an era”.

He said: “This has been a massive part of my life over the past 21 years – it gave me my first job and in fact part-time work for a struggling actor many other times in later years.

“It was always a joy to support my dad’s ideas and help him promote the business too – plus, of course, there was the free fish and chips!

“Happy retirement, dad – although you’ll never rest and have already got another part-time job. Time for me to start looking for other food to eat.”

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