Ann Downes is about to serve up her final fish and chips in Rose Green.
Ann will be handing over her final portion at her Rose Green Fryery this weekend (September 8).
The moment the last customer leaves on Saturday night with some freshly-cooked cod and chips will mark the end of her 25 years behind her frier.
She said: “I feel really sad about going. There are so many nice people I have known here over the years. I’ve got some really lovely, loyal customers.
“But it has been a total commitment. Everything has to be ready for when the doors open.
“There is a lot of work which has to be done behind the scenes which people don’t realise.”
Ann, 71, said she felt the time was right to leave her Rose Green Road business where she has also lived.
She is looking forward to moving to her new home in Pagham. She wants to spend more time with her two grandchildren.
Ann and her late husband, George, created the fish and chip business in 1987. George had run fish and chip shops in Cheshire and decided the empty premises, a former grocery shop, would make an ideal location.
He was right but the protests of ten nearby residents caused the plan to be initially rejected by councillors.
The couple were advised to try again and gained permission at their second attempt.
Their portions were immediately popular. They had to shut after five months to enable a bigger frying range and fume extraction system to be installed.
“People were queuing out of the door,” said Ann. “We couldn’t serve the chips fast enough.”
That success has continued. A typical Friday opening from 11.30am to 2pm will see 40 happy customers leave with their steaming parcels of lunch. Friday nights are even busier.
Ann serves up 30 25kg sacks of potatoes each week to satisfy the unending demand. She said: “The secret is to freshly cook everything. It comes straight out of the range to be taken away by the customer. You can’t have fish and chips better than that.”
She has been helped by nine part-time youngsters in recent months.
Cod remains the most popular choice of fish. Haddock is next, followed by plaice and then huss.
Ann’s place is being taken by Helen and Feng Gu.
They are spending two weeks learning how to copy Ann’s success before they open as usual next Tuesday.