WELL known trader Clive O’Neill is looking forward to returning to the hustle and bustle of Bangor and Newtownards weekly markets in the New Year.

The Newtownards market manager, who is the longest serving trader in the town, is currently on a leave of absence from his pitch as he is hospital awaiting an operation.

Speaking this week from hospital, the larger than life market trader was disappointed to reveal that the popular Harvest Fair usually held in September in Newtownards will now not be able to go ahead. However, with his usual positive attitude, Clive was confident he would be back behind his market stalls selling fruit and vegetables in Newtownards and plants in Bangor in 2023. A visit to the markets in the neighbouring towns would not be complete without enjoying the ‘craic and laughter’ with Clive who has been trading in the towns for over 40 years.

Sharing his disappointment, Clive said: “I am in charge of Newtownards market and run the Harvest Fair but it will be cancelled this year due to my health problems as I won’t be out of hospital to do it. “I just wanted to let people know that I have a health problem but I am looking forward to returning in the New Year.

I am under doctor’s orders and I just want to apologise for not being there, I do miss it.” The local man has been buoyed by the support he has received from his many customers saying: “A lot of customers have been contacting me, others have been asking ‘where is Clive?’ “I miss the craic, the people, the banter, the customers and the friendships you build over the years. I just wanted to let the people know, who have supported me in Bangor and in Newtownards, that I will be out of action for a few months but I will be back in the New Year.”

Everyone at the Chronicle and Spectator newspapers wishes Clive all the very best in his recovery and we look forward to his market return in 2023.