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Yarmouth market character remembered

PUBLISHED: 12:15 19 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:07 30 June 2010

Dominic Bareham

DIGNITARIES, friends and relatives will gather in Great Yarmouth Market Place tomorrow to bid farewell to a market trader renowned for his catchphrases, such as “Lend us a shilling, luv.

DIGNITARIES, friends and relatives will gather in Great Yarmouth Market Place tomorrow to bid farewell to a market trader renowned for his catchphrases, such as “Lend us a shilling, luv.”

Borough mayor Tony Smith will lead the tributes to Harry Kern, 83, pictured below, who died suddenly last weekend, when a special memorial service is held outside his stall in honour of the town's second-longest-serving market trader.

Cockney Harry, who originally came from London's East End, opened his stall selling ironing board covers, insoles for shoes and foam in 1960 and continued serving custo-mers until last Satur-day, when he died of a heart attack shortly after completing a day's trading.

Son Mark said his dad, who lived with his wife Patricia in Yarmouth Road, Caister, was always present on Wednesday and Saturday market days because he loved having his stall, even though he had been making little money from it lately.

He added: “He had many great memories of being involved with the public down at the stall, especially in the summertime with the holiday-makers, and he liked to have a joke with the traders. Obviously it has declined in recent years, but he still loved it. For him it was a social thing as much as his job.”

Harry's other catch-phrases included “Leave me a fiver” and “I'll tell your mother.” Mark, who also lives at Caister, said he had shoppers and fellow traders in stitches with his quickfire humour.

“He used to say things like 'The strongest man in the world - he killed a kipper once!' A lot of people used to come up to have a chat with him as much as to actually buy anything,” he said.

Boxing fan Harry was an amateur in the ring in his younger years. He was also a regular contributor to Sky Sports boxing phone-ins, when he would offer advice to pundits on how boxers could improve their technique.

He also enjoyed football.

His time as a market trader started when he worked for the family business, Rowdens, which made clothes for such names as Marks and Spencer.

Harry would travel the land selling the clothes on market stalls.

Market manager Duncan Mallett said Harry used to call him “The Grenadier” because of the upright way he walked. He added: “He was one of the original market characters. He was the life and soul of the place.”

Harry leaves five children, 15 grand-children and one great grandchild.

His funeral was held at Maidenhead, where some of his relatives live, on Monday, and the Yarmouth service of remembrance in Market Place will start at 4pm tomorrow.

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