Former market trader sets up traditional sweet shop on Leeds-Liverpool canal boat after coming out of retirement during lockdown

Pat Creaven, 61, and his wife Jill sail their boat along the Leeds-Liverpool canal and open their floating sweet shop at various stops on the route.

Pat Creaven, 61, and his wife Jill sail their boat along the Leeds-Liverpool canal

The couple sail between Rodley in Leeds, West Yorks., to Foulridge in Pendle, Lancs., on board their home-cum-shop, called Pendle Witch Sweets.

And they sell hand-measured traditional sweets for £1 per 100 grams during stops at stations along the route to the delight of customers.

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The couple bought their barge in 2017 and planned to spend their retirement cruising the canalways of the UK and Ireland.

The shops sells hand-measured traditional sweets

But during lockdown, entrepreneur Pat purchased an old pair of scales and decided to open a sweet shop on the boat.

He added: "We bought the boat in 2017 and we were retired for a small section of the time.

"During lockdown, we purchased some old fashioned Woolworths scales, so I decided to set up a sweet shop business, to my wife's dismay.

"I started on the markets when I was 15, so I thought 'I'll finish on the markets'.

The traditional sweet shop includes a 'memory lane' section

"We set the sweet boat up and it's been a success since."

Sweets are colour-coded for people with dietary requirements, including gluten free and items suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Pat has a 'memory lane' section which houses old-fashioned classics such as toffees and eclairs as well as boiled sweets like Yorkshire Mix and Rhubarb and Custard.

And he even says each area has its own favourite flavour of sweets.

He added: "It's a trip down memory lane, who didn't love a sweet shop when they were a kid?

"It's that memory of sweets, you can walk along the canal and bring back memories.

"We do things the old-fashioned way, we weigh the sweets out for the kids and try to educate them on the way things used to be done.

"We travel up and down the Leeds-Liverpool canal and stop at various stations.

"We travel from Foulridge to Rodley and we turn around and head straight the way back again.

"We know where we are by the popularity of the sweet. If we're in Gargrave, they love their sarsaparilla-crazy. In Rodley, they love their midget gems and wine gums."

He added: "You can't beat it, every morning you wake up and you have a different view. When you get used to one view, it's time to move.

"We enjoy travelling by the water, we were in Ireland for a long time. We have done most of Ireland and most of the UK canal system."