Meet the Sunderland chip shop owner who has been frying fish for more than 40 years and has no intentions of stopping

A Sunderland fish and chip shop owner, who turns 70 this year, has stated he has no intentions of stopping after frying fish for 41 years.

Friday, 28th January 2022, 11:48 am

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David Smith, from Millfield, has ran Angels Fish and Chips on Derwent Street in Sunderland city centre since 1995 when he first opened the shop and is still there 27 years on.

Previously known as Mr Cod, the dad-of-five renamed the shop Angels in 2009 as a tribute to his wife Angela, who passed away from cancer aged 42 in 2008.

David Smith, owner of Angels Fish and Chips on Derwent Street in Sunderland city centre.

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David said: “When I was 12-years-old I got a job in a fish shop and worked there till I was 16, at which point I left school and joined the Merchant Navy and did that until I decided to open my own fish shop in Hendon back in 1981, before moving to New Herrington in 1987.

"Then when this one came up in 1995, I didn’t expect when I bought it that I’d still be here, time has gone really fast but I enjoy it every day because every day is just different.

"We get a lot of people who live on their own come into the restaurant upstairs and they tell us their life stories, it is a social thing for them."

David with partner Rita Newby and daughter Louise Smith.

He added: "When my wife died, I was going to pack it all in but she talked me round and told me to keep going which I am doing alongside Rita, she runs it with me and is a huge help.

"One of my biggest memories is when I changed the name, I asked my children if they’d be okay with it before I went ahead and did it.

"The day we officially changed the name, we donated the proceeds to St. Benedict’s Hospice – I think we had made about £2,000 that day and it went to a great cause.”

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David may have been frying fish for more than four decades but he insists that the method of cooking is still the same – just the technology and what people order is now different.

He commented: “The biggest change is that when I first started, everyone bought fish and chips then – it was all we sold, fish, chips and fish cakes.

"But now, a lot of younger people want some of the smaller stuff that we offer but fish is still by far our biggest seller however it isn’t like we used too.

"Frying-wise, it is the same now as it was 41 years ago but the technology has transformed massively.

"Back in 1981, the frying range had no thermostats, you had to turn the controls up and down to get it all right but now, it just does it on its own.”

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