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Market customer Roy Swain dies, aged 85

Market customer Roy Swain dies, aged 85

Market customer Roy Swain dies, aged 85

Roy Swain, a much-valued customer at New Covent Garden Market for 55 years, has died aged 85.

When Roy was born In Paddington in 1937, his father Charlie was already in the fruit game and buying from the old Covent Garden for his barrows in Edgware. Roy’s brother Johnny went into the trade too, working at Spitalfields, but Roy was a Covent Garden man from the first day working with his dad, aged 10.

Leaving Edgware Road, the family ran a successful greengrocery store in Burnt Oak for many years, before selling that up and moving into the markets. Having taken the business on from Charlie, Roy ran Blackbush market in Surrey, which was at the time the biggest Sunday market in Europe, and with son Mark now in the business, they worked markets across the south east through the week.

Roy’s lorry was a fixture in the Market six days a week and he became one of the largest customers on Buyers Walk, liked and respected by everyone he did business with. Even after retirement at 65, he was involved in the business virtually every day, turning out to help Mark and the team wherever they were.

“The fruit game is a way of life, as it always has been for families like us who’ve been in it for decades,” said Mark Swain. “My Dad was my hero. I’ve looked up to him every day of my life and I’ve always aspired to be like him. I could not be a prouder son, or had a better Dad.”

Roy met his wife of the last 35 years at the Market. Lynn was also a fruit and veg market trader, on Portobello Road. Roy’s step daughter Gemma was also in the trade for a while.

The condolences of everyone at NCGM who knew Roy go to them and the rest of his family. May he rest in peace.

Roy’s funeral will take place at St Peter’s Church in Chalfont St Peter’s at 11am on July 31st.

Tommy Leighton
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