FRYERS were extra hot at fish and chip shops in South Shields on Good Friday.
Ocean Road was lined with queues as hundreds of people turned out for Britain’s favourite meal.
Even a few rain showers failed to put off the crowds, who were determined to maintain what has become an Easter tradition in the town.
It was a busy but productive day for local fish and chip shop owners, as the tills rattled.
William Smith, who has run Smith’s Chippy on Ocean Road since 1981, was not surprised at the length of the queues.
He said: “We’ve been here for more than three decades, and we always do a roaring trade on Good Friday.
“We always prepare for it and we have enough staff on. It just seems to happen every year and it’s nice to see.”
The Easter period comes just six weeks after Smith’s Chippy won a top national award.
In February, it was hailed as serving the best “chippy chips” in the North East, in the UK Choice Chip Awards.
Charlie Kearney, owner of Charlie’s Fish and Chips in East Smithy Street, experienced the Good Friday trade for only the second time, after opening in October 2010.
He said: “We’re still quite new, so it’s always quite interesting to see what happens on Good Friday.
“We aren’t on Ocean Road, which is where a lot of people go, but the town centre has been busy and a lot of people have been calling in.
“It’s all fish that we’ve been selling – people are being very traditional. We’ve sold other things off the menu, but mainly fish and chips.”
Colmans, in Ocean Road, has picked up numerous top awards over the years.
Richard Ord, the fourth-generation owner of the family business, said: “We always get queues here, but there is no doubt that people like to turn out in force on Good Friday.
“We get a lot of local custom at all times, and many of the people queuing are from South Shields.
“But visitors to a seaside town enjoy their fish and chips too, and they have also been coming along on Good Friday.”
Louise Buzzard, 24, queued for more than half-an-hour to get a meal for her family in Westoe.
She said: “We do it every year. It’s a long time to have to queue but so many people must think alike in South Shields.”
It wasn’t just local people tucking into chips on Good Friday.
Andrew Lawrenson, 32, and his partner Annwen Griffiths, 31, travelled from Dundee in Scotland to visit Mr Lawrenson’s parents, Brian and Helen Lawrenson, in South Shields.
He said: “We come down to South Shields as often as we can, and if it’s Good Friday, we’ll go to the chippy.”
South Shields woman Julie Merrigan, 47, from Stanhope Road, said: “It’s not great having to queue but there is always a good atmosphere among everyone.
David Hall, 61, from Marsden, said: “I don’t think people are put off, whatever the weather. I’ll keep coming back on Good Friday.”