Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Dorothy and Keith Wood show indomitable spirit

Keith & Dorothy Wood

Keith & Dorothy Wood

Dorothy and Keith Wood have been established in their Bohemia Road newsagents and convenience store for almost a quarter of a century.  Keith previously had a shop in London, but after being attacked, asked his mother Dorothy if she could find him premises in the Hastings area.   So Dorothy looked around and found the present shop, which had been closed for several years and was in a very bad state.   At that point it was just a tiny shop, but after three years the greengrocer’s next door closed when owners Vic and Jean Watson retired.   Dorothy and Keith bought it and knocked the walls down to enlarge their own premises.   Kath Vaness, who worked for Watson’s for 25 years, now works for Wood’s one morning a week while Dorothy gets her hair done!

The expansion was in 1986, and just after that a man came into the shop every morning, and when Dorothy said, “Can I help you?” he would reply “No, I’m just looking.” On the fourth morning he said, “I know you’re on your own – get round there and open the till!” He was caught in Newgate Road and sentenced to ten years, but was let out on parole after only three.

Both Dorothy and Keith have been attacked several times since, but they still carry on and refuse to let it defeat them. The worst time was when someone poured petrol over Dorothy and threatened to set her on fire. “The people next door were very kind,” she said. “Michael Foster’s wife was going by and saw the police car. She phoned Michael, who took me into the office and made me a cup of tea.”

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