After more than 35 years of catching and serving seafood on Eastbourne promenade, Arthur Perry of Perrywinkles Shell Fish Bar is set to retire.
Perrywinkles is part of the furniture on the seafront and so it’s little surprise that after a few decades of running it, Arthur has become a well-known and popular member of the Eastbourne community.
Now, though, he feels it’s time to hang up his electric blue uniform and enjoy a peaceful retirement, he hopes, in a fishing boat out on the water.
In his youth, Arthur suffered polio, meningitis and Sherman’s Disease, from which he wasn’t expected to recover or, at best, never to walk again.
Arthur refused to accept his diagnosis though and with the help of his parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital, he managed to recover, despite a seriously twisted spine.
Fishing quickly became a passion of his and he went on to win many competitions, sailing to all corners of the world and helping countries, like Gambia, promote and realise their fishing potential for tourism.
He has met a number of famous people during his travels and helped them with their fishing techniques. It’s also little surprise that over the years he has accumulated a wide and impressive knowledge of what fish are to be found off our shores and where the best places to catch them are – a key to the success of Perrywinkles.
Arthur was also known for other roles he adopted, one of which was as a Lifeboat volunteer. Even now, he takes a keen interest in the Lifeboat service and was thanked by the mayor for his involvement in helping people who find themselves in trouble just off Eastbourne pier.
During his career, he also taught in local primary schools, becoming headteacher before moving on to try and help schools that failed Ofsted. The impact he made is evident by former students bringing their children to see ‘Mr Perry’ in his fish and fruit bar.
Over the years, Perrywinkles has prided itself on offering only the best - not only in terms of the cuisine on sale, which includes shrimp, crab, octopus and smoked salmon, but also in terms of service.
Arthur is a well-liked character within the town, not least for all the work he has done, but for his friendliness and the wealth of stories he has to tell about his fishing days and the changing life of the seafront.
His wife of nine years, Ethane Ashling-Perry, said, “He will, he is told, be sadly missed by many regular customers from here and abroad. He is hopeful that the new owner will continue to offer the quality and service that has become part of Perrywinkles over the years. He is planning to buy a boat and go fishing again so you may in the future be able to buy fish and shellfish caught by him.”