End of an era for Wigan card stall

Yvonne Gibson, with daughter Trina Gates, who run the card stall which has relocated to the Greenways centre
Yvonne Gibson, with daughter Trina Gates, who run the card stall which has relocated to the Greenways centre

A retired market trader who has seen the highs and lows of being a stallhollder in Ashton over a 46-year career says it will soon be the end of an era.

Yvonne Gibson, from Lowton, first set up her card stall on Ashton’s outdoor market more than 50 years ago.

But in the near future the shipping containers, which now house the remaining open-air stalls, will be replaced by gazebos.

Her stall, now run by daughter Trina Gates, has relocated to the Greenways shopping centre and she is grateful customers are continuing to support the venture.

The veteran former stallholder is proud to say she only missed two market days during her time - one was for Trina’s wedding and the other was when family friend and Liverpool FC legend Alan Kennedy got hitched.

Yvonne said: “Even then I had someone in, looking after the stall while I was away.”

She still stops by to help out Trina but has seen the old market change out of all recognition.

She told the Observer: “When I first started in Ashton Market there were 140 stalls - I’ve still got a carrier bag advertising the fact.

“We were down the bottom originally, before they put the car park there, and we moved into one of those shipping containers around 2000.

“I’ve had daughters, mothers and grand-daughters coming to the stall and it’s been lovely seeing them all grow up.

“I just wanted to thank everybody for all their support down the years, especially now the stall is in a new home.”

Markets are in Yvonne’s blood. She was also a stallholder at Earlestown for more than half a century.

Council bosses have unveiled plans to offer gazebos to the remaining traders, in a bid to regenerate the market at Ashton and replace the existing containers, which have often divided opinion among shoppers. But Yvonne was not a fan of the new arrangements, which has prompted the recent move indoors.

“This is a card stall so it doesn’t really work with a gazebo. Everything would just be blown away,” added Yvonne.

“That’s why Trina has moved into Greenways and it’s going really well.”

Market traders collected an 800-signature petition opposing the moves, with the help of ex-Bryn councillor Steve Jones, The shipping containers will be removed later in the year, they have been told.