Market stalwart Mary, 80, takes a little time off

Mary Tissington all smiles and serving customers in the Castle Market at 80 yrs of age
Mary Tissington all smiles and serving customers in the Castle Market at 80 yrs of age

GRAFTING granny Mary Tissington celebrated her 80th birthday yesterday by sharing a meal with her family.

She’ll be out again tonight when, together with 24 of her lady friends, she’ll be painting the town red before enjoying a meal at a Mexican restaurant.

And of all the presents this party girl received on her big day perhaps the most valuable, and certainly the most well earned, is something Mary gave to herself... a few more hours in bed.

After almost 60 years serving grateful customers at her family’s market stall Mary has decided to slow down a bit - by giving herself Fridays off.

Mary said: “Getting up at 3.30am and working through until teatime isn’t easy at my age.

“Just lately I have been kept awake worrying about black ice and whether I’ll be able to get off the drive to get to the market.

“So I’ve decided to slow down a bit - for a few weeks until the weather improves at least.”

Mary, who lives in Holmesfield, first started working on Smith and Tissington’s fish, crab and poultry stall when she began helping out for the Christmas rush when she was in her early 20s.

At that time, she helped out her husband Roy when their son Paul was just a little lad.

Roy, who died in 2009, worked until he reached the age of 80.

His son Paul is now the boss and his advice to Mum is to ‘try to take it easy’.

Paul, 60, added: “The ball is very much in mum’s court.

“I’ve told her to work whenever she likes - and I have to say she likes working down here a lot.

“Like my dad she has a great desire to work and long may that continue. But if she wants to take it little bit more easy then that’s fine by me. She certainly deserves to.”

Mary, who is originally from Darnall, said: “It is hard work at the market but as one of 13 children I soon discovered that you need to work hard to get by.

“Anyway, I love the market life. The people, the traders, the customers, everything about it.

“I had Friday off but I was back again the day after.

“And you wouldn’t believe the amount of people who came to the stall and said ‘where were you yesterday?’

“I think they missed me.”