Family of Chesterfield icon Don Hollingworth 'overwhelmed' by turn out for famous market trader's funeral procession
A ripple of applause spread across the cobbles as Chesterfield Market said farewell to one of its most colourful characters.
Don Hollingworth served on Ayres fruit and veg stall for almost seven decades – with his ‘inimitable’ shouts of ‘three for a pound, your strawberries‘ to passing customers becoming one of the town’s signature sounds.
Don passed away last month aged 81, and on Thursday his final journey saw the funeral cortege pass his old stomping ground.
Hundreds of people lined the Market Place and surrounding streets to say their last goodbyes to a man described as a ‘true icon of Chesterfield’.
Don’s daughter-in-law Katherine Hollingworth said it was ‘a truly moving experience to see people gathered to pay their respects’.
"It was really touching and a fitting tribute to a man who spent the majority of his life serving the people of Chesterfield,” she said.
“His grandchildren were surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of people who turned up to pay their respects.”
After the cortege had passed Don’s old haunts, a service was held at Chesterfield and District Crematorium which aimed to ‘celebrate Don’s life’.
The service, which was interspersed with some of Don’s favourite songs, by the likes of Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra, and even a recording of the great man himself talking about life on the market, described his ‘unique character’.
Celebrant Nigel Turner, who led the service, said the ‘hundreds of people’ in the market to see the procession were ‘testament to the man we pay tribute to’.
"The inimitable voice could be heard across the town,” Mr Turner told the service.
"He was known by literally everyone in Chesterfield. He would stand chatting to people, some of whom went to the market just to see him.”
Mr Turner described how Don had been born in Hasland, attending Hasland Hall School and grammar school.
His career on the market started at the age of seven, but became full-time when he reached the age of 16.
Mr Turner got plenty of laughs when he described how Don would respond to questions about which country his potatoes came from, quipping they were from ‘wherever the customer wanted them to be from’.
The service also heard how Don was a talented ballroom dancer, who was far more gifted on the dance floor than wife Maureen.
The funeral was organised by Co-op Newbold and led by funeral director David Lee.
Katherine said the Co-op had been ‘amazing’ in the way it organised the procession and service.
Co-op spokesperson Rebecca Tustin said: “It was lovely with a really good turn out. There must have been several hundred people out to see his final journey past the market.”
Don was born on December 1, 1939, and on his first day on the market as a lad was told to ‘stand there and don't move’.
It was an instruction Don took to heart as he worked on the stall, opposite Marks & Spencer, whatever the weather, until his retirement in 2013.