A FAMILY business has pledged to support four different local charities during lockdown.

Temptations of Middlewich has been allowed to stay open because it has a garden centre and sells vegetables.

The long established business started trading in Wheelock Street 43 years ago.

Mike Watts, who runs the shop with wife Rachelle, said: "We started off in 1977 as greengrocers. After 20 years we changed the business into a gift shop and have not looked back.

"Government guidelines say garden centres and food retailers can stay open. We've had an absolutely fantastic response from people.

"Like all businesses, we only let a few people in the shop at a time and insist on masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing."

Dad-of-two Mike will be donating £100 a week to a different local charity and is inviting customers to nominate their favourite cause on the shop's Facebook page.

Winsford Guardian:

Mike Watts, who runs Temptations of Middlewich with wife Rachelle, buys locally grown produce

"Once voting finishes on Sunday, whichever charity gets the most support will receive £100," he said. "That charity will then get eliminated from the next three weeks so we can share out the money.

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"It is nice to give something back to the local community. People seem to really appreciate the idea. I might do this a few times a year."

Daughter Olivia, 19, a student at Manchester University, and son Charlie, 16, a pupil at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive, help out in the evenings and weekends.

The couple also employ a few part-time members of staff.

"We buy as much local produce as possible so that everything is very fresh," said Mike. "I've just been to a farm in Peover to get some leeks. Elderly people who don't want to buy large quantities really appreciate being able to buy a couple of carrots or one leek.

"We have people who come into the shop daily that I have seen grow up. I remember them coming in as children when I first left school. They now have children so we have seen the third generation of some families."

Many new families who have recently moved to Middlewich have also become regulars.

"We've picked up a lot of new customers," said Mike. "A lot of people who have bought new houses and are working at home are walking round the town which is nice. They normally do their shopping in the town where they work.

"Middlewich is a lovely very close knit community. There is very little crime and everyone is very friendly and helpful.

"Our shop has become a meeting place for a lot of people which is lovely. Everyone can feel a bit lonely during lockdown. It is nice that people can come in here and have a natter. I'm proud of that. They can potter round and look at the garden centre. They are not rushed. One lady who came in was so pleased that we were open. She said we are one of the few faces she will see."