Silly Billy's Toy Shop: Popular independent Yorkshire toy shop to close after 25 years

A toy shop which has served one of Yorkshire's most popular towns is to close after almost 25 years.

Bill Deakin, who owns Silly Billy’s Toy Shop, on Old Gate in Hebden Bridge, is shutting down the shop after a quarter of a century.

He has no closing date yet but plans to return to the career he had before he opened the toy shop, working in mental health.

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“I want to say to the people of Hebden Bridge ‘thank you for supporting me all these years’,” said Bill.

Bill Deakin is bidding a fond farewell and closing Silly Billy's Toy Shop in Hebden Bridge

“Without their support, I wouldn’t have been able to support my family and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that.

“I’m just sorry I am letting them down but I did my level best.”

He opened Silly Billy’s on May 1, 1997 after moving to Hebden Bridge and realising it did not have an independent toy shop.

He has always had to compete with bigger chain stores, such as Argos, but says the added competition of online giants like Amazon has been one of the main reasons for his decision to close.

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The toy industry has changed dramatically, he said, and more people are turning to the internet to shop, especially over the last two years during the pandemic.

But he said there is still something special about children being able to visit a toy shop in person to choose a toy.

Bill added he is bidding a fond farewell to the shop with lots of happy memories.

He has been inundated with messages since announcing he will close, including some from people who used to come in as children and have gone on to visit with their own youngsters.

“There have been loads of people saying they’ll be sad to see me go,” he said. “It’s been really nice, really caring and kind.

“One of the nicest perks of my job has been seeing the children coming in.”