Overwhelmed by words of kindness before shutting up shop for final time

Readers' letters | Published:

We closed the doors of Gwythers’ shoe shop in Bishop’s Castle for the last time at Christmas.

Gwythers in Bishop's Castle

Throughout our final few days and especially on the very last day, Sally, Audrey and I, were truly overwhelmed by the large numbers of people who took the time to call in and wish us well, thanking us for the service we have given and often, acknowledgement was given also, to the work put into the business over decades, by my parents and grandparents. It means a great deal to know that our commitment was appreciated.

It was incredibly emotional. People arrived bearing mulled wine and mince pies and beautifully hand made cards (you know who you are – thank you for your particular kindness).

The flowers, chocolates, letters, cards, kind words and handshakes we received, expressed such a strong affection, I ran out of words to respond. Yes, by the Saturday, I was speechless and doing my best to remain composed. It wasn’t easy.

Thank you all so much. I am sorry I don’t know everybody’s addresses to write to individually, especially those who came to shop here for years from further afield and kept coming after our other branches closed.

I wish my father, grandparents and great aunt could have lived to have heard the appreciative things people said.

Closing the shop was not a decision taken lightly.

Some people told me that my father would be turning in his grave if he knew, but in fact, shortly before my father died, he felt that the time had come to close it.

Competition from internet shopping and all the political uncertainty finally cemented the decision. The last three years have been a bonus. We tried our best.


Sally, Audrey, Maggie, Carol and I have enjoyed working together and met lots of interesting people along the way.

On behalf of my mother, Shirley, “The Boss”, and all of us, thank you and wishing everybody a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Paula Middleton, H Gwyther & Son Ltd, Bishop’s Castle

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