"Pauline: When we started more than 38-years ago, we had never fried a fish or a bag of chips from a commercial van in our lives. We were expecting our first child and realised we wanted the advantages that come with having your own business.
Thankfully, we were both used to hard work and put everything we had into making the van a success. Everything was important from the design of the van, which has become somewhat iconic with the dolphins on the side; to the way we dressed in our white overalls and the villages that really wanted the service that we were offering.
Refining the round was one of the first challenges we had. Finding the right locations and becoming a regular fixture was essential if we were going to make a go of it. What can be quite overwhelming is that we have served three generations of the same families. Not many businesses can say that.
Richard: It would be wrong of us to say that it’s an easy life but there are certainly worse things that you can do than visit beautiful places, surrounded by amazing scenery to serve suppers throughout the Dales. It’s the people that have kept us going so long. We have made some life-long friends and there is no doubt that this is what we are going to miss.
We’ve only ever missed five days and that was due to illness and extreme weather. You have to be committed, you simply can’t leave people waiting and wondering why you haven’t bothered to turn up. It doesn’t give the right impression at all.
The van isn’t just a business, it’s a way of life. We’re planning to retire this year and sell the business but we really do hope that this will be the next chapter in the story of the van and that people will enjoy fish and chip suppers in the Dales for years to come."
Pauline and Richard Ramsay ran the Ramsay's fish and chip van for 38 years, retiring in 2019. Sadly, Richard passed away shortly afterwards. The business continues with new owners.
This is an interview from my 2019 “Dalesfolk” book. For more information, go here: http://gullwingphotography.co.uk/dalesfolk/