Harborough district's very own Arkwright finally gets his 'Ronnie Barker' coat after 60 years

The much-loved shopkeeper, 75, is now proudly wearing his sandy-coloured coat

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 4:43 pm

A well-loved shopkeeper in a Harborough district village has finally got his Arkwright coat – made famous by TV star Ronnie Barker – after 60 years.

Don Hoare is known by all and sundry in his native Billesdon as Arkwright after the curmudgeonly grocer brilliantly played by Barker in the smash-hit BBC sitcom Open All Hours in the 1970s and 80s.

And he’s now proudly wearing Arkwright’s sandy-coloured coat as he goes about running his business after celebrating his 75th birthday.

Don Hoare (left) is known by all and sundry in his native Billesdon as Arkwright after the curmudgeonly grocer brilliantly played by Barker in the smash-hit BBC sitcom Open All Hours in the 1970s and 80s.

Born in Billesdon, larger-than-life local character Don has lived in the close-knit village just off the A47 all his life.

He started work in the shop when he’d just turned 15 back in 1962 to help his mum Mary out as he sought another job.

But Don took to the shopkeeping life like a duck to water – and an incredible six decades on he’s never looked back.

He went on to marry his sweetheart Sue – and she also rolled up her sleeves in the store as they’ve been running it as a family business ever since.

Don Hoare is known by all and sundry in his native Billesdon as Arkwright after the curmudgeonly grocer brilliantly played by Barker in the smash-hit BBC sitcom Open All Hours in the 1970s and 80s.

One loyal village customer said: “You go in to their shop for one thing and walk out with an armful – Don’s just like old Arkwright!”

Don also loves sausages - and he’s now got his very own exclusive banger.

One of his suppliers, March House Farm in Great Dalby, near Melton Mowbray, were asked for help – and they leapt into action.

And they have produced an exclusive sausage for Don.

One of Don's suppliers, March House Farm in Great Dalby, have produced an exclusive sausage for Don. Don’s Anniversary Sizzlers will be available exclusively from his shop in Billesdon.

Don’s Anniversary Sizzlers will be available exclusively from his shop in Billesdon.