Leigh Park chippies mark a milestone

The family run Cheeky Chippy fish and chip shop in Leigh Park celebrates thirty years in business. Jamie Lockhart and his wife Helen with Jamies mum Anita who started the business with her husband Maurice back in the 1970s.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123845-6)

The family run Cheeky Chippy fish and chip shop in Leigh Park celebrates thirty years in business. Jamie Lockhart and his wife Helen with Jamies mum Anita who started the business with her husband Maurice back in the 1970s.'''Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123845-6)

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THEY’VE sold more than a million portions of fish and chips to ravenous locals.

Now the family who run the Cheeky Chippy, in Middle Park Way, Leigh Park, have clocked up their 30th year in business.

Owners Jamie and Helen Lockhart say the key to their fast food shop’s longevity is its loyal customers and quality ingredients.

The couple’s supply of fish is frozen at sea before it arrives on land so that it is kept fresh.

And all their tasty chips are hand-cut.

Jamie, 45, took over the running of the shop from his parents Anita and Maurice 12 years ago after they opened it up together.

He then met his wife Helen, 29, in 2003. She helps with the shop’s finances.

She said: ‘We’re just a small family-run business and I think that’s part of the appeal. It’s a tiny shop but a lot of hard work goes into making it what it is.

‘We must have sold more than a million portions of fish and chips.

‘We recently went through 900 portions of chips in one week alone. We strive to keep the quality as high as possible.

‘We make sure all the orders come out nice and that there aren’t any burnt edges on the chips.’

Despite noticing that customers had tightening their belts in recent years, Jamie and Helen said that trade had remained steady.

Helen said: ‘We’re finding that quite a few people are swapping fish and chips for fish cakes and sausages in batter because they are the cheaper options.

‘But we attract customers from all over the place.

‘Some come from as far as Winchester and Funtington.’

Things could have turned out quite differently though because Jamie’s parents had initially planned to make the shop a clothes store.

But after consulting with members of the local community they decided to open up a chippy.

Jamie and Helen, who employ five part-time staff, will celebrate the shop’s anniversary, which is on Thursday, by putting up banners and holding a mini-party inside the shop on the day.

Jamie said: ‘I wouldn’t rule out me being here for another 30 years.

‘I love my job.’

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