OAP becomes first M-way fishmonger

OAP becomes first M-way fishmonger

The M5 is now the "plaice" to be for motorists wanting to stop off and buy some fresh fish.

Francis Phillips has become the UK's only motorway fishmonger.

The 67-year-old businessman opened on the southbound Gloucester Services of the M5 on Wednesday. Mr Phillips traded retirement for the new venture, which sells fish exclusively caught off Newlyn-based fishing boats in Cornwall.

Drivers setting their journey planner via Gloucester Services will see his sustainable catches alongside a chocolatier, traditional butcher, farm shop and patisserie.

This continues what seems to be a growing swing away from more conventional motorway fare. Only last year JD Wetherspoon opened the UK's first motorway pub off the Beaconsfield stretch of the Buckinghamshire M40.

In recent times there has been a drive to bring down motorway service station prices. An RAC survey found that 88% of users found them poor value for money .

Pete Williams, external affairs head for the RAC, said of last year's poll that motorists felt severely "let down" when it comes to what they called "overpriced" goods.

He singled out Gloucester Services as one of the alternative approaches to traditional motorway food offerings. The venue promised to outlaw fast food, franchises and chains, preferring instead to concentrate on the local community and farming.

Mr Phillips believes that Gloucester Services' foresight has left him with "real scope" when it comes to reviving the fishmongers' art by re-educating people.

Many shopping generations neither appreciate nor understand native species such as Cornish pollack, sardines or ling, he added.

Mr Phillips, who also passes down his knowledge to fresh generations of fishmongers, said that the trade is in his blood.

The services are on the doorstep of a large tourist area comprising the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.

Copyright Press Association 2015