CHESTERFIELD: All quiet as market man calls it a day

Don Hollingworth retires.
Don Hollingworth retires.

There’s no doubt about it – Chesterfield has definitely become a quieter place since the retirement of legendary market stalwart Donald Hollingworth.

For decades, come rain or shine, wind or snow, Don could be found at Ayres fruit and veg stall, his well-known voice – “bananas a pound!” – bellowing out around Chesterfield town centre.

Don, 73, started working for the family-run firm when he was just seven-years-old, selling oranges as a Saturday job.

But that weekend earner turned into a remarkable career spanning over almost seven decades – making him Chesterfield market’s longest-serving seller and one of, if not the, best-known faces and voices in the town.

Don, of Chester Street, Chesterfield, who has reluctantly retired due to ill health, said: “I’ve enjoyed every single minute of my time at the market.

“I’ve worked with some remarkable folk and I must have served literally millions of people these past 66 years – I’d like to thank every single one of them for their custom.”

The market man – so famed for shouting the price of fruit – had a surprising confession to make...

“I don’t actually like fruit!” he said.

“I’m more of a veg man – I love a bit of asparagus.”

Don said he would never forget meeting the Queen when she visited Chesterfield market in 2003.

“It was the proudest moment of my life,” he added.

Over the years, there have been countless changes at Chesterfield market.

Don recalled the biggest shift came when council chiefs banned traffic from coming through the area.

He said: “Before that, we used to get six busloads from Robinsons coming into town every dinner time.

“Everyone would come and buy things from the stall then catch the buses back to work.

“Those were the good old days when business really was booming – you couldn’t move for stalls and customers.”

Despite the changes, Don has remained a much-loved town legend. “I don’t think there’s one person who doesn’t know me,” he laughed.

“Even though I’ve retired I still hear people saying ‘there, that’s him, it’s the man from Chesterfield market!’

“I just wish I could have carried on going.”