Littlehampton couple leaving town reacts to giant billboard send-off

Tan and Michael Shepherd in front of the billboard dedicated to them. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190080-1
Tan and Michael Shepherd in front of the billboard dedicated to them. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks190080-1

Anyone travelling through Wick Street recently will have found it hard to miss a giant ‘goodbye’ billboard poster.

Littlehampton couple Tan and Michael Shepherd wanted to leave town quietly but their son Roy had other ideas.

He organised the giant billboard poster so everyone who knows them has a chance to say goodbye, as well as hiring a van with their picture on to drive around town on Saturday.

The first the couple heard of the billboard was when Tan received a mysterious message from Roy which said: “Are you sitting down mum?”

Tan said: “We just wanted to go quietly but we were tickled pink by it when we got over the shock. We keep bumping into people who stop us and say they know us from the billboard picture.”

The pair have lived in Littlehampton for a combined total of 114 years and are moving to the village of Murton in County Durham for family reasons.

Roy said: “It’s been a bit of a whirlwind really. It’s also somewhat of an adventure for them as they’ve spent their entire lives in the area.”

Michael was actually born in the living room of the house the couple are moving away from, along Stanley Road, Littlehampton, so this is his first time ever moving house.

The couple said they have seen plenty of change in Littlehampton and the surrounding areas over the years, as when their son Roy was born they were able to walk into the countryside from their house, and West Beach was all sand.

Roy added: “It’s a huge deal for them to up sticks at their age, especially my mother, who is well connected with the local community as well as having family in the area, including ourselves.”

As members of the congregation at All Saints Church in Wick, Tan said it will be very sad to leave the church but some of their friends there gifted a pot of daffodils to take with them as they know Tan will miss her garden.

They also hosted leaving drinks for 50 of their friends and family at the Six Bells in Lyminster Road, Wick.

The couple said they have mixed emotions, from being excited to scared, but Michael said: “It is like a new life, to start completely again.”

Tan said she will most miss the people and the familiarity of everything, as well as having to get used to the sea being to the east rather than the south.

The billboard will be in Wick Street for another week, with the couple packing up and leaving town tomorrow, February 20.

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