Tributes paid to popular market trader

Well-known trader Des West
Well-known trader Des West

A well-known market trader who spent decades running a fruit and veg stall has died at the age of 84.

Des West took over his dad’s stall on Leigh Market 60 years ago, when it was based on Market Place, near Leigh Parish Church.

He had a heart of gold. He would do anything for anybody.

Sarah West

He was a popular face among shoppers buying their five a day.

The stall, named Des West And Sons, moved with the market to the nearby site now used by Asda and then to the current market hall.

His granddaughter Sarah West, 29, said: “He loved working on the market. He just loved the people.

“Everybody knew him - I’m shocked at how many people knew him. I knew he was well-known, but when I put a post on Facebook, so many people commented to say the knew him and shared their memories.”

She said he would always take the time to chat to his customers and even gave free fruit to children passing the stall.

Mr West, of Warrington Road, Leigh, retired and gave the stall to his son Dave, meaning it would stay in the family after more than 80 years.

He continued to work there until five years ago and even afterwards could still be seen there regularly.

Miss West said: “Even if he had just come to Leigh for some shopping, he would go onto the stall.”

He also previously ran a shop on Chapel Street, where he sold and fruit and vegetables.

Mr West had seven children, who he cared for after separating from his wife. He also had more than 30 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild.

Several of them followed in his footsteps. Son Dave now runs the stall, while Pete has a flower stall on Leigh Market and Michelle works there, Susan runs a flower shop in Atherton and Gill helps her daughter in her flower shop in Leigh town centre.

Miss West, who lives in Lowton, said her grandfather was a real family man.

She said: “He had a heart of gold. He would do anything for anybody. If he had it, he would give it to you - if you asked for money or food or a favour.

“He loved decorating and would decorate all the kids’ houses.

“He looked after everybody. He would take us all for lifts to school and pick us up while our parents were working.

“A lot of us lived with him. When we have fallen out with out parents, he has taken us in.

“He was always there for everybody.

“He would always want everybody to be happy. He was never miserable, even when he was ill.”

Mr West’s daughter Susan Simm, 41, said: “He was such a brilliant dad. He took all seven children on. He has always been there for all of us.”

She described him as “a fantastic man” and “always a joker”.

Mr West died on Tuesday, October 18 after suffering a heart attack.

A horse and carriage took him on his final journey on Monday for a funeral at Leigh Parish Church.