A fantastic fryer whose award winning chippy has been the heart and sole of the community for decades is preparing to hang up his apron for the final time.
Martin Mills (59) has run the Weldons Fisheries chip shop in Eye for the last 12 years - but the takeaway has been serving up fin-nomenal fish suppers in the village for the last 75 years.
Now Martin is preparing to wave goodbye to the business - which was crowned King (Edward) of Peterborough chip shops in 2016 and 2017.
Martin said: “I have been a businessman all my life - I have been a property owner and motor trader - but when Weldons came up for sale, I went for it.
“I have lived in Eye all my life, and was toddling over to Weldons when I was just two or three - it is a proper institution here. It is part of people who live in Eye’s life.
“When I took over, I knew nothing about the business. I didn’t know what a fish looked like if it wasn’t coated in batter. It was a steep learning curve.”
The shop has only had three owners in 75 years - and while Martin was looking forward to putting his feet up in retirement, he said he would not sell the shop to just anyone.
He said: “We have had plenty of interest already, but I’m looking to sell it to the right person - I will keep running it till they come along.
“We are a proper village chip shop - we know when our regulars are coming in, what they want, and how they like their fish cooked - and if they like a sausage for their dog.
“We use potatoes grown just a few miles from the shop - they are picked at 6am and fired at noon - and we inspect every potato and piece of fish before we fry them.
“All our staff are employed from the village - and we have had sons and daughters come and work for us too.”
The chippy became known as a must-visit as people drove along the A47 to and from the east coast - and became more of an attraction when Martin and the team set up a stunning floral display.
Martin said: “People came just to see the flowers - it almost overtook the shop. We had to get a gardener in to look after them.”
Since becoming the owner, Martin said he had become a ‘fish and chip connoisseur’ - and said it was crucial for the new owners to keep up the traditions. He said: “You have to get fish and chips right. The sign of a good chip shop is a queue outside. I went to a shop in Cambridge and asked for cod and chips, and they served pollock. Its not something we would do. You have to use the best ingredients. Fish and chips should also be served straight out of the fryer. I’m not a fan of wrapping them up and taking them home.
“The new people will have to get it right, as I will still visit Weldons for my fish and chips - and I know the secret - get there early!”