Lawrence Welham and daughter Danielle Welham-Smith. Picture: Supplied

Lewks Music & Movies will be closing next month, 45 years after the Downham Market record store first opened its doors.

Since opening in 1973, Lewks has become the largest and longest established independent music and movie retailer in East Anglia but it will cease trading on Saturday, June 2.

Lawrence Welham, who has been the sole proprietor and manager of the business since it opened, is set to  retire.

His daughter Danielle Welham-Smith, who runs the business with her father, has decided not to continue with the shop once its current lease expires.

Mr Welham said he will miss running the shop.

“It’s been my entire working life and Danielle’s as well. She’s grown up in the shop,” he said.

An announcement on social media said: “This has been a huge and very hard decision for us both to make.

“With Lawrence’s impending 70th birthday fast approaching, retirement is well deserved, so it is with pure heartache that Danielle will not be carrying on once our current lease expires in June.

“We leave behind an entire lifetime of memories, not to mention our fantastic customers, the wonderful reps, our staff over the years, and all our friends.”

The Wales Court-based store last weekend took part in its most successful ever Record Store Day, where more than 200 independent shops all across the UK sold exclusive vinyl releases made for the day.

Since customers were treated on a first-come, first- served basis for this national promotion, they typically begin queueing at midnight and last year’s record of 10.45pm on Friday evening was beaten.

Mr Welham added: “The queue started at 10pm, so it was a new record.

“We got there just before 7am and there were 35 in the queue with a semi-circle of camping chairs in the precinct.”

Lewks will continue to offer its video to DVD transfer and web design services.

Its very last annual disco will also go ahead unaffected on Saturday, May 19, while any outstanding gift vouchers need to be spent before Saturday, June 2.

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