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Take me to the Tower

Happy 60th Anniversary to the Tower Fish Bar

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By Ben Murray
Lockerbie and Lochmaben
Take me to the Tower
DRAWN TO PERFECTION. . . the shop held a drawing competition as one of the celebratory events this month

A POPULAR Lockerbie family business is celebrating its 60th anniversary today.

The Tower Fish Bar is one of the oldest businesses within the town, originally founded in July 1962.

In celebration of the anniversary, the shop has been holding events across the month, with the biggest celebration culminating today with prizes given to everyone who visits the store.

Owner Vincent De Luca said: “Where have the years gone?

“When my father and his brother opened the chip shop in 1962, it was packed to the door all night and they took £12. That alone tells you how long ago it was.

“I was one at the time so I had no first-hand experience but I’ve been in the business for 40 years and it’s been a joy to be of service to everybody.

“We’re part of the fabric of Lockerbie and have loyal customers who have come here as small children and are now retired.”

The De Luca bloodline has a long a storied relationship with Lockerbie since Michele De Luca, Vincent’s grandfather, moved to the town to avoid the post-war poverty of his home town of Lazio, Italy.

Michele set up an ice cream parlour called Café Ecosse in the Hight Street, with chips being served later in a coal-fried frier in the alley between the café and the neighbouring fishmonger, Flynns.

Vincent’s father was born in 1924 and aided his father in holding the fort until 1989, only a year after the Lockerbie disaster.

Vincent continued: “We became an unofficial tourist information office during those sad times.

“It was harrowing for everyone, for many of the relatives in particular. And because of our central position, people unfamiliar with the town would come asking for things.

“To some extent we still do that, and we have a lot of return visits from grieving families.”

The Tower Fish Bar also became a popular attraction amongst celebrities thanks to the work of the late De Luca brothers, Michael and Jimmy.

Prominent in Lockerbie’s annual gala celebrations, the brothers did a lot for the town with sponsorship of sportsmen and other community matters.

They were both very popular characters, proud of their roots and of their town.

Celebrities that have visited the shop for a quick lunch include ex-Scottish footballer Denis Law, comedian Rab. C Nesbitt and Marti Pellow, vocalist for Wet, Wet Wet, amongst dozens of Queen of the South players.