Royston Market stall holders honour “unique character” John Sims

Stallholder Anthony Whiteman with the flowers and book of condolences for John Sims.

Stallholder Anthony Whiteman with the flowers and book of condolences for John Sims. - Credit: Archant

FRIENDS and colleagues have paid tribute to a “unique character” who died on Saturday after nearly 50 years as a trader on Royston market.

John Sims, who was 73, died following a battle with leukaemia. The Hitchin resident, who ran a kitchen supplies stall with his wife, June, was a well-known face in the town having been working on the market since 1964.

Fellow traders set up a book of condolences and left flowers on a stall in Market Hill on Saturday, and again on Wednesday during the weekly market.

Stallholder Anthony Whiteman said: “He was a unique character, and you don’t get many people in any walk of life who stay in one place for so long.

“The stallholders wanted to do something in his memory. So many people have been coming up and signing the book or leaving flowers. I’ve already taken one lot over to June and will be dropping some more off this week.”

Andy Tucker, of the fishmongers stall, said: “I’d known John since I was three years old. He was a good mate and really one of the old school, you don’t get people like him any more.

“He told it like it was, and I think people appreciated that. He’ll be sadly missed by everyone.”

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Mrs Sims said her husband became a market trader because he wanted to be his own boss.

She said: “He loved the freedom of it and we ran the stall together. The market has changed a lot over the years but he still really enjoyed what he was doing.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the weekend because he knew so many different people and we had a lot of regular customers.”

The couple have no children. Mr Sims’ funeral takes place at Luton Crematorium on February 28.