Tributes have started to pour in for Mike Wells, a fish trader who had been working at Horncastle Market for almost 50 years.
Mr Wells, who lived in the Grimsby area, has been hailed as Horncastle’s ‘Mr Market.’
He died on April 28. Friends, family, fellow traders and customers have paid emotional tributes to a “wonderful man who loved Horncastle.”
Eldest son Sean told the News: “My Dad passed away in the early hours of April 28.
“It has come as a very big shock to us all. He went to sleep in his chair and never woke up.
“Horncastle Market meant the world to him.”
Mr Wells rarely missed a Thursday market at Horncastle and first set up his stall in 1949.
Fellow trader Tony Ellerby, who runs a neighbouring flower stall, said Mr Wells would be missed.
He added: “I’ve known Mike for more than 20 years and he was more than a trader - he was a great friend.
“He came to my wedding four years ago . He’d do anything for you.
“He loved Horncastle - and the people. He had so many regulars. He knew exactly what they all wanted.
“The market won’t be the same without him. He was ‘Mr Horncastle market’. We’ll all miss him.”
Trader Mark Brown, who runs the ‘Army Store’, said: “Mike was a brilliant bloke. There was always a queue at his van.
“People are still coming up and asking where he is.”
Town and County Councillor Bill Aron paid his tribute.
He said: “I was shocked to learn of Mike’s death.
“I have known Mike since the late 1960s. Usually, he was one of the first customers at Houldens on a Thursday morning. He would not only deliver my fish order but would be after some change.
“He was always cheerful, whatever the circumstances and whatever the weather.
“I am sure Mike will be greatly missed.”
East Lindsey District Council Markets Manager Esther Belton, said: “Mike was a great character on Horncastle Market and was one of our longest serving stallholders.
“He was very popular among both shoppers and traders.”
Loyal customer Keith Baguley, of Horncastle, said: “He was always cheerful. Everyone loved him - and his fish.”
*The funeral will be at Grimsby Crematorium tomorrow (Thursday).