It was with a heavy heart that Barrow Market Hall said a very special farewell to a long standing trader.

Mushtaq Ahmad closed his stall, Sobia Fashion, for the final time at the weekend after 32 years serving the local community.

Fellow traders made it a day to remember, presenting Mr Ahmad with a fruit hamper, flowers, cards and a round of applause.

Barrow Market Hall staff paid tribute to the 69-year-old, who is retiring to focus on his grandchildren and health.

A Barrow Market Hall spokesman said: “We said a fond farewell to Mushtaq on Saturday as he traded for the last time in Barrow Market Hall.

“Mushtaq was presented with some beautiful flowers and a fruit hamper from all of the market traders.

“Mushtaq would like to say thank you so much for a wonderful send off.

“We wish you and your family all the very best Mushtaq, keep safe and well.”

His daughter, Sobia Ahmad responded to Barrow Market Hall’s tribute.

“On behalf of my dad Mushtaq and the whole family! We would like to thank you all for the lovely gifts and send off,” she said.

“He received lots of heartfelt messages and cards and will truly miss all at the market.

“Which after the years of working hard at Sobia Fashions he called his second home!

“Thank you keep well and safe and hopefully see everyone soon.”

Mr Ahmad began his career working on the outdoor market before he moved indoors to begin Sobia Fashion, which is named after one of his daughters.

Dedicated to his business Mr Ahmad would make the almost two hour journey from his home in Manchester to Barrow.

Recently this had become particularly hard for the businessman, who would usually stay over in Barrow before market days.

However due to coronavirus restrictions Mr Ahmad had to make the journey there and and back each day.

Sobia Fashion was also much loved for the fact that customers were able to take away items and try them before returning to pay.

It is safe to say Mr Ahmad will be sorely missed by the Barrow community.