A CRAFTSMAN from Ilminster has bid an ‘emotional farewell’ to his customers after closing down on Sunday.

Dowlish Wake Pottery and Gallery, run by Chris Brewchorne for the last ten years, will be turned into offices by the owners of the premises, Perry’s Cider.

Chris, who recently opened up the gallery for Somerset Arts Week, said he was shocked and saddened by the company’s decision.

Since the news broke, the artist has received hundreds of heart-warming messages from well-wishers who say the village will be losing an important tourist attraction.

Chris, who has not been able to find alternative premises, told the News: “I was part of the community.

I have spent ten happy years here building up a nice little following and it came as a shock.

“It has been like the Last Supper. I have had a succession of people saying how sad they are to see me go. It is an emotional farewell.

“It is not easy to find nice little places around here where you can see lovely things and see the maker at work.

“It is unfortunate how it has happened and it is a huge interruption in my life – and takes away something that a great number of people have enjoyed.

“What I will miss most is the contact with local people. There are a lot of people who come here, not just to buy things but because it is a display of some of the best crafts in Somerset.”

Pat and Sam Evans, who travel to Ilminster for Somerset Arts Week every year, said they were sorry to see the venue close.

Pat said: “As a comparatively poor amateur potter myself, I always admire and buy a piece from the Chris the Potter at Dowlish Wake.

“It was therefore a great sadness to learn that he is closing after many years trading.

“The potter has been an extra tourist draw for all the businesses in the area, including the very good pub in the village where we usually eat.”

A spokesman from Perry’s Cider, which is opposite the gallery, said: “We supported him for ten years, circumstances have changed and we wish him well for the future.”