DEDICATED newsagents who have been up at the crack of dawn for the past 15 years are looking forward to celebrating their retirement with a holiday.

James Walsh, 82, and Anne Creed, 73, who own Backhouse Newsagents in Middle Street, Stroud, are set to shut up shop in April.

The couple, who have been together for more than 40 years, took on the newsagents and refurbished it after retiring from the motor industry.

“We thought we would be winding down but we have been waking up at 4am everyday since,” Anne said.

“When you run your own newsagents you can’t close, you have to be there for the newspapers. It is too much now at our age.

“We haven’t had a holiday in 15 years so we are looking forward to travelling around the country.”

James and Anne, who were named traders of the year in the 2008 Stroud Civic Awards, delivered a letter to the 200 customers who receive a paper delivery informing them of their retirement.

Paper deliveries will continue as Martin’s newsagents have offered to take on the 11 paper boys and girls.

Anne said: “It is a very sad time because many of our customers have become wonderful friends.

“We thank them all for their loyalty and custom over the years.

“We hope someone will take on the shop as it is part of the community and it would be a shame to lose it.”