MUCH-loved Old Town antiques shop Penny Farthing Antiques has shut up shop for the last time after the owner, Ann Farthing, lost her battle with cancer.

The 70-year-old died last Saturday morning at Prospect Hospice following a long battle first with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and then ovarian and lung cancer.

Although illness has meant the shop in Victoria Road has effectively been closed since February, Ann’s husband Lawrence said that it will now be closed for good.

The 70-year-old from Shaw said: “She was recovering from breast cancer and she was spending quite a lot of time on her own so I encouraged her to do something and find a new hobby.

“She always loved watching Antiques Roadshow and all the other antiques programmes so she thought she would do something along those lines and that’s where it started.

“She started off as a dealer when the shop was owned by somebody else and she had her own counter. She got more and more interested and the owners got more and more disinterested and then finally in 1999 she took it over from them and ran it herself. And that’s when she renamed it Penny Farthing because her surname was Farthing.

“I don’t think it ever made any money, but it was a real passion of hers. She loved it.

“She loved her work and customers were impressed with her knowledge and passion for antiques.

“Her shop was a unique feature in Swindon and is unlikely to be replaced.”

Ann was a popular and much-loved figure in the town and well-known by other local businesses.

Lawrence said: “People were always popping into the shop to say hello and ask her to value things and she was always facing the difficult challenge of having to explain to somebody that something wasn’t worth very much.

“She was really well-known in the community and I know a lot of people will be sad to hear the news.

“She did have some pieces from the Royal Worcester fruit painters at one time, which were real antiques.

“She also went to auctions and bought things through the shop there.”

Ann was diagnosed with COPD in 2003, which has symptoms similar to emphysema.

In February this year she had a scan and that is when it was discovered she had ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

Lawrence said: “Although it was a shock it wasn’t unexpected.

“The people at Prospect Hospice were wonderful though, they were very, very good. I will really miss her companionship.”

Ann, who after her daughter Kerensa died helped to bring up grandchildren Charlotte and Keziah, is survived by her husband, her son Lawrence and daughter Glema.