A BRIDGWATER bookshop which has been open for 50 years is set to close this month following the death of one of its owners.

Mike and Julie Hill bought The Bookworm Read and Return Bookshop in St John Street in 2003 after Julie broke her ankle which presented the opportunity to have a discussion about owning a bookshop.

Julie ran the shop for 16 years but was forced to stop after she was diagnosed with brain cancer last December.

The shop was run by the couple’s friend while Julie got treatment but sadly she lost her battle with cancer on November 27.

Following her death Mike said it ‘just didn’t feel right’ to keep the shop open without Julie and decided he will shut the shop for good on December 24.

“When we bought the shop 16 years ago we didn’t change the sign, we agreed it had a certain charm to it,” Mike said.

“I was a customer as a small child and the shop has been here for 50 years. It’s a lovely place.

“The shop was never really a money spinner for us, it was about our passion for books and something for Julie to earn a steady income.

“Julie loved working here. It doesn’t feel right to keep the place open without her.

“I would like to thank all of our customers for their support over the years.

“We really appreciate it.”

Mike said he will be sad to close the shop but he feels it is the right thing to do.

He paid tribute to his wife describing her as ‘a beautiful person inside and out.’

“The world dimmed a little when Julie passed away,” Mike said.

“At 4ft10, slim with good looks, tumbling curly locks and a smile to light up a room, Julie was a gentle but determined force with a heart big enough for all.

“All tales of injured animals made Julie react with simply having to do something to help.

“With her love of nature and all animals Julie was a natural bright light in this often dark world.

“Julie’s sense of fun and mischievous nature meant, I’m sure we knew more laughter than most.

“This was balanced with her determination to make the shop a success.

“Always decked with flowers and kept clean and appealing. We weathered two recessions.

“Julie had a kind, innocent, bubbly, fun-loving, happy personality, liked by everyone she met, loved by many and greatly admired by some, and now, missed by all.

“I know Julie would love to be able to tell everyone she knew this simple but honest message ‘goodbye and I love you.’

“I love you Julie. My heart breaks every time I realise you’re no longer with us.

“No goodbyes simply ‘you go on ahead and find us somewhere nice, I’ll be a while but I’ll come and find you and we will be together again, forever this time.”