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34 MARKET TIMES • JUNE 2019 Is Joan the UK’s oldest market trader?
 JOAN WARD, aged 90, from South Yorkshire hit the headlines when she was hailed the country’s oldest market trader in reports in local and national newspapers, and on radio and television.
Whether or not she is actually the oldest person trading on a market is not certain. But she is definitely the fittest and the most hardworking.
Joan met her husband, Fred, in the Blackpool Winter Gardens when he asked her to dance, but unbeknown to her he had seen her many times before walking past his fruit and veg stall on Barnsley Market.
After the couple married they decided they wanted to run their own market stall and they
built a business which included a shop and stalls on Mexborough and Barnsley markets.
Then in 1983 Joan drove through Wath upon Dearne in South Yorkshire and spotted that the furniture store had closed and the building was up for sale.
“It was around the time of the miners strike and we thought we could get an indoor market going if we could get enough traders together and offer the basics at low prices,” Joan said.
The couple soon had a thriving indoor market called the Value for Money Market. Fred died in 2006 but Joan is still behind the counter eight hours a day, six days a week, every week of the year and she thinks nothing of hulking about
56 lb bags of potatoes.
Also trading on the market is her sister, Pat,
a mere stripling at 79. One of her three daughters, Catherine, also has a stall there, and another daughter, Ghisalime, who trades on nearby Hoyland market, helps Joan with the buying.
Joan said: “I just love this market and the people of Wath.”
She admits that she doesn’t actually get Sunday off either.
“Generally Pat and I will go to buy stuff for her café,” she said.
And there are no plans for retirement.
“I certainly want to keep going on the market for as long as I can,” Joan said.
 Veteran fruit and veg trader Fred Jefferson has died
WITH his trademark trilby hat and a ready smile, Fred Jefferson was a familiar figure on Beverley Market where he sold fruit and veg for 60 years until his recent death, aged 79.
NMTF President-Elect John Dyson remembers meeting Fred
on John’s first day of trading on the Yorkshire market 50 years ago. “He was a great character and we
will miss him,” John said.
Fred hailed from Hull and started his working life as a trawlerman, but his father had a greengrocers shop and Fred was soon working
the markets.
He moved to Hornsea and he and
his wife, Barbara, had two daughters and two sons, one of whom is carrying on the market business. As well as standing markets, Fred was a councillor and former mayor of Hornsea.

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