Teddington Fish Bar owner ‘lost for words’ as community pitches in for repairs

By Oliver Monk

9th Jul 2024 | Local News

‘I am working really hard to get open and hope to repay the community back very soon by delivering what they deserve – the best fish and chips around,’ says owner John Charalambous. (Photo: Laura Cole)
‘I am working really hard to get open and hope to repay the community back very soon by delivering what they deserve – the best fish and chips around,’ says owner John Charalambous. (Photo: Laura Cole)

The owner of beloved local fish and chip shop says he is 'truly humbled' by the support he has received from locals.

John Charalambous ran Teddington Fish Bar on Kingston Road for 15 years until June 2023, when an electrical fire forced him to close down.

However, the chippy's return is once again on the horizon, after a crowdfunding campaign sees the community raise over £3,000 for Mr Charalambous' final repairs.

Despite initial optimism of a swift reopening, Teddington Fish Bar remained closed for over a year. Its owner had been assuring regulars he would be 'opening in a couple of weeks', but months went by without any further news.

Mr Charalambous ran Teddington Fish Bar for 15 years before closing in June 2023. (Photo: Google Maps)

Local resident Laura Cole says she ran into Mr Charalambous outside his shop last month when he shared he was facing financial difficulties as repair costs added up.

"He let slip he might actually have to do the unthinkable, close permanently and walk away," says Ms Cole.

She continues: "I told John that this cannot happen, his shop is like a local landmark!"

Ms Cole, determined to show Mr Charalambous the community's support for him and his fish bar, started a crowdfunding campaign last month to help cover the last of his repairs, raising £3,000 in just three days.

The community has rallied around their local chippy, raising £3,000 for the repairs in under three days. (Photo: Laura Cole)

The shocked owner offered his heartfelt thanks to the community, saying: "Even after 15 years I didn't realise how much my shop and I meant to people locally, especially after being closed for over a year. I am truly humbled and lost for words at the kindness I am being shown. 

"All I can do is promise I am doing everything I can to reopen as soon as possible, having the support of the local community has really helped give a positive boost to my mental health just when I needed it. I was struggling and didn't want to be a burden to anyone or reach out for help, it's just not how I was brought up.

"I am so appreciative of Laura for seeing through my façade of 'everything is fine'. I am working really hard to get open and hope to repay the community back very soon by delivering what they deserve – the best fish and chips around. 

"Thank you to everyone."

'I am so appreciative of Laura,' says Mr Charalambous, seen here with Ms Cole. (Photo: Laura Cole)

Ms Cole says she is grateful for those who have already donated, but adds: "I would love to keep pushing until his doors are open and the shop is trading. Every little donation is invaluable to helping him get back on his feet and sustain the shop during the first few weeks of reopening. 

"I think we can do even more to give him the reset he deserves. So, if you can spare a few quid, please do. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more!"

Those wishing to donate can do so via the Teddington Fish Bar crowdfunding page here.

Mr Charalambous hard at work getting Teddington Fish Bar ready for opening day. (Photo: Laura Cole)

     

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