Page 43 - Market Times June 2021
P. 43

MARKET TIMES • JUNE 2021 43 Bolton’s Peter Entwistle is NMTF’s
Market Manager of the Year
 PETER ENTWISTLE’s “12 weeks of hell” during the first lockdown were recognised when he was named the NMTF’s Market Manager of the Year for his Herculean efforts to support Bolton’s market traders and help them survive the ravages of the pandemic.
The NMTF awards the Dennis Williams Memorial Trophy to a market officer who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and professionalism.
The accolade honours the memory of Dennis, a former President of the federation and a stalwart of the Executive Committee, who died in 2009.
Dennis started as a market trader 70 years ago and also managed markets near his home in Swindon.
Dennis Williams, a former President of the federation
Joanne Crompton, who sells greeting cards on Bolton indoor market, said traders were incredibly grateful for Peter’s efforts during the pandemic and felt he deserved the accolade of market manager of the year
Peter Entwistle is presented with the Dennis Williams Memorial Trophy for Market Manager of the Year by NMTF President Michael Nicholson (left). Also in the group are Peter’s wife Karen and NMTF President-Elect John Dyson.
  Peter was nominated for this year’s award by the traders, who praised his unstinting support and efforts to help them through three lockdowns.
Joanne Crompton, who has sold greeting cards on the market for the past 40 years, said Peter and his team had gone above and beyond the call of duty when traders were racked with anxiety and facing huge uncertainty.
“Peter set up a WhatsApp group and he was really good at getting all the information we needed to us on everything from grants to day-to- day stuff,” she said.
“It was such a difficult time, particularly in March of last year. Traders could ask any questions and he would answer them, any time of day or night.”
Peter’s deputy, Steven Turney, said: “I have worked with Peter for more than six years on this market and before that in a different council role.”
“Peter always puts the traders first. He is very fair with people and he has become very knowledgable about markets and is always up to speed with things affecting markets.”
Peter trained as a chef and worked in facilities management for the police before joining
Bolton Council.
He took on his current role of
market manager in 2015. It was a baptism of fire, he says, as the indoor market had just undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment including the creation of a food court and eating area.
“Some of the traders were disgruntled and it took a good two to three years to win their trust. They got to realise that I would be fair and when I said something I meant it,” he said.
That mutual trust was vital for all concerned when the pandemic took hold in March 2020.
“That was when traders needed my help and advice the most,” said Peter, who found himself in uncharted territory, with a lack of clear advice and information from central government and an ever- changing situation.
“We have such an array of different businesses in Bolton market — food, alcohol, hair- dressers and beauticians. It’s a mini town centre, and the situation and rules were different for them all,” Peter said.
At the start of the first lockdown Peter was working long hours, sometimes not getting to bed before 4 am. The WhatsApp group proved
a godsend, and Bolton was the only market in the north west that continued operating with 23 essential traders.
Peter and his team helped and encouraged traders to launch click and collect and delivery services, which are continuing.
The market team worked out that traders had carried out 66,000 home deliveries between March and September of last year. “After that we lost count,” he said.
Many traders weren’t using social media before the pandemic and that has now changed too.
“To be honest it was 12 months of hell from when the first lockdown started, but everyone has worked together to keep people safe and businesses afloat, and now there is a lot of positivity about, even though Bolton has been affected more badly by COVID-19 than almost anywhere in the country,” he added.
Joe Harrison, the NMTF’s CEO, said: “It is great to recognise the hard work that Peter has put in, and it is a pleasure to see how traders and market management can work together so well in times of great difficulty. All praise to Bolton market — its management team and traders.”

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