Ilkeston chip shop set to fry for the final time - with all proceeds donated to local hospital

  • Dani Crawshaw reports on the long career of a much-loved boss

After more than 60 years a chip shop in Derbyshire is to close its doors this weekend.

Its owner, 84-year-old Dennis Jackson, says hanging up his apron will be emotional.

He opened Jackson's Chippie on Market Street in Ilkeston town centre in 1961 and it will close tomorrow (Saturday).

Dennis says the opening hours will be extended on the last day of service with all of the proceeds going to Ilkeston Hospital.

Some staff members have offered to work for free and Dennis has contacted the hospital to tell them to send some nurses down to the event.

He says they're hoping to raise two thousand pounds - double what was raised during a similar celebration 20 years ago to mark the shop's 40th anniversary.

The business has been going for more than 60 years.

Dennis made the difficult decision to close 3 weeks ago and since then the community has been showing how much it will miss him.

"For 3 weeks it's been manic!" says Dennis. "A really lovely customer, an elderly lady, who you wouldn't think would wait an hour and 8 minutes for chips - did!"

Dennis began peeling potatoes when he was 20 in a different chip shop, and years later opened his own.

The decision to close is age-related and also because of rising costs and the current economic situation.

He describes his customers as "the best in the world" and says he has mixed feelings about retirement.

"It's exciting but also terrifying. Last Sunday I woke up and thought what am I going to do in a week's time when I've got no shop to go to", he says. "It's an unexplainable experience to live the life of a fish fryer for 62 years and not want to lose it, but I'm afraid that's how it's got to be."

As well as his customers, Dennis' staff say they are going to miss him.

Vanessa Males has been employed by Dennis for 24 years.

"It's been amazing. Dennis as a boss, well, there will never be a boss as nice as Dennis", she says.

The 84-year-old says he will have a lump in his throat when he serves his last customer.