Wimpy closure prompts emotional farewell

Image caption Akram Malik has worked at the Broadmarsh branch since 1983

People are saying an emotional farewell to a fast food restaurant which has been a Nottingham landmark for decades.

Wimpy opened in the Broadmarsh shopping centre in 1975 and has been run by the same manager, Akram Malik, since 1983.

Loyal customers have expressed their sadness, with one revealing he had proposed to his wife there.

Mr Malik, who said he would miss the crowds and atmosphere, said the move is due to wider redevelopment plans and other branches remain open.

“People have grown up coming here, they have moved away, worked abroad, come back and said ‘oh God, Wimpy is still here’,” Mr Malik said.

“It might not be the end, maybe the end for me here but maybe it will be coming back.”

Image caption A small number of customers came out to visit the branch on Saturday before it closed

A post about the closure on the BBC Radio Nottingham Facebook page has attracted hundreds of comments, most reflecting the part it had played in their lives and wishing Mr Malik well.

But few have the sentimental connection of Barry and Jayne Pickard, who had memorable afternoon 27 years ago.

Mr Pickard said: “We had gone for some shopping and me and Jayne had been together for a couple of months.

“I decided I would get a ring and propose, and where better to do it than the Wimpy in the Broadmarsh?

“I had my two daughters with me and I thought it was best to do it there and then and then I could decide whether I paid for her Wimpy or not.”

Image copyright Ian Tyas/Getty Images
Image caption Wimpy has been serving burgers in the UK since 1954

Wimpy: A history

  • Wimpy opened in the UK in 1954 at Lyon’s Corner House in London
  • During the 1970s, it had more than 1,000 branches across 23 countries
  • It became the first major fast food chain to offer a meat or fish-free burger in 1985
  • There are 67 branches still open in England
  • Essex has the most locations with 18
Image copyright Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
Image caption A high street staple up and down the country – Wimpy Margate in 2011

Wimpy has been asked to move by the centre’s owners, Intu, ahead of a redevelopment of the site.

A spokesman for the burger chain, which still has dozens of branches across the UK, said negotiations were ongoing with Intu about a new location.

Intu said Wimpy “has been a huge part of Broadmarsh’s history” and it hopes it will return “in the future”.

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