PEOPLE mourning the loss of a traditional butchers shop were criticised for ‘failing’ to support independent shops.

After running Wantage Family Butchers for more than 11 years, husband and wife Vincent and Chrissy Montgomery locked the doors of the shop for the last time almost a week ago.

More than 100 people took to Facebook to express their regret over the closure and many thanked them for the year-around quality service.

People also reminisced over their famous bacon rolls and steak baguettes.

One Wantage shopper Mary Gottwald even said: "A Sunday roast will never be the same’ without the shop."

But despite all the praise, Mr Montgomery pointed out it was ‘the lack of support from locals’ that killed his business.

Explaining why it was difficult for the store to survive he commented: “The butchery was not getting any support at all – I was working for £200 a week and have been for the last 11 years.

“We have been hanging on and hanging on, hoping that every next year will be better but it has stayed the same.

“Going into lockdown I refused to put the prices up and even started to do deliveries for free thinking that if I support the community during difficult times, they will also support me afterwards.”

Mr Montgomery admitted it cost him a small fortune to be able to do that and added it was a very risky move that ‘did not pay off’.

He said: “As soon as lockdown eased the majority of people I was serving went back to their old habits.

“We did not have another choice but to go.”

The tradesman revealed that he will soon begin his new part-time role as a kitchen fitter for three days a week.

On top of this he also hopes to resume his work in holistic therapy as a college tutor.

The site on Wallingford Street, however, will not remain empty for long as Mr Montgomery confirmed that a pizza chain will soon take over.

While he described the new traders as ‘lovely and very professional people with a solid business plan’, he highlighted their work will most likely have a negative effect on Mr Pizza that is located next to the Wantage Family Butchers.

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He described the owners of Mr Pizza as ‘generous and community-spirited’ and added that his worry is their trade would suffer.

And he appealed to people in Wantage to: “Spend a few more pennies and support local shops.

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“They are the heart and soul of Wantage and are all struggling to survive.

“We are very conditioned to use one-stop shops and there is even a drive to get people online.”

Mr Montgomery, who lives in Swindon and used to travel every day to open the shop, also spoke candidly about the decade he spent in Wantage.

He said: “We had an absolutely lovely time in Wantage.

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“The people who came into the shop are all amazing.

"It is a very friendly community.

“Unfortunately the volume of support for us was just not enough, but that is fine, it is nobody’s fault.”