YE Olde Pastie Shoppe has survived two world wars — but today, like many other businesses, it is facing its biggest challenge to date as the coronavirus pandemic continues to bite.

The shop has been in Marie Walsh’s family — through her late husband Jack — for 121 years.

“It has definitely been the most challenging time for the shop,” said Marie, who is now 82-years-old. “We are only allowed two people in the shop, many of our customers are older and have not been coming in because they have been shielding.”

Marie has been serving customers since 1967 at the Churchgate shop.

She said: “During the war they had to make pasties out of anything they could. Potato and cheese pasties and what they call butter pies, which is just potato and butter, because everything was rationed. And it survived that and now it is going through a bad time during the pandemic.

“Before my husband died, of course none of this was happening and he said 'I keep seeing a lot of shops closing down in Bolton I just hope the shop goes on a bit longer’, I don’t know what he would say now with all this going on.”

Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe shut for three months during the height of lockdown and when it reopened, the menu was cut right back because a drop in the office lunch time trade.

She added: “We are just getting back to putting some of it back on.

“We are usually really busy and it has been in fits and starts - but it seems to be steadying out a bit.

“We are lucky that we have a good reputation and have been here a long time, people know that we make everything fresh by hand and people like that it is more like homemade.”

But Marie is confident the business will survive the pandemic “because people have to eat” and the shop has adapted to meet the changing landscape of the town centre, not least the closure of Bolton’s theatres, which brought in a lot of custom.

To boost trade, Marie has put on a number of special offers.

“After lockdown we didn’t know how much to make so we froze it and sold it cheaper and it is popular with people stocking up, we still have those special offers and it has boosted things up a bit.”

She said that her heart went out to people who had lost their jobs because businesses had closed because of the impact of coronavirus.

"We have a lot of regular customers and they have been glad to see us back open, " said Marie, "We have a laugh and joke with them which cheers us up."

Special offers

Pasties: six for £5.40/ normally £1.20 each

Potato cakes: eight for £1

Mini-pasties: £2 a bag/normally £3

Whist pies: six for £2.50/ normally 60 p each

Meat pies: six for £5.40/ normally £1.30 each