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Shopowner overcomes tragedy to relaunch business in
A doting husband who lost enthusiasm for his business after the tragic death of his wife is to relaunch his shop after finding love again.
Christopher Allen, 59, was overcome by grief when his wife Maureen lost a short battle with Leukaemia in 2010.
He left the day-to-day running of angling equipment shop, Abbey Baits, to staff while he struggled to deal with his loss.
And he admits the shop in Lea road, Waltham Abbey, was neglected and became dated.
But after finding love with long-term friend Sarah Springham, 40, he has rediscovered his passion for the business and has revamped the shop to mark a new era.
Mr Allen said: “I still miss my wife and if you lose someone like that it really affects you.
“Since Sarah’s come into my life she’s been a huge lift to my spirits and to the business.”
Miss Springham added: “We have dragged the shop kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
"It used to be an Aladdin's cave but now it's a lot brighter.
"The staff are very close. They looked after the shop when Chris was focussed on his grief and we would do anything for each other.”
This dedication led senior sales advisor, Michael Cork, to spend New Year’s Eve and Christmas eve painting the floor of the shop.
He said: “I love the trade. I’ve been involved in it since I was 15 and it’s something I enjoy.
“It’s a hobby as well as a job.”
The shop does regular charity work for Addenbrookes Hospital, where Mrs Allen was treated and this year raised £300.
They are also support Casting for Cancer, a charity which provide fishing equipment for cancer sufferers.
The official re-launch of the shop will take place at 11am on Saturday with angler Luke Pike, sponsored by the shop, cutting the ribbon.
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