A CONFECTIONARY seller has invented a new lollipop in the black and white colours of Darlington to celebrate the opening of his dream sweetshop after almost 20 years in business.

Andy Raine is opening the shop in Duke Street, Darlington today.

The businessman, who has been selling sweets wholesale for 17 years, has been determined to give a nod to his home town in the decor of Andy’s Candy Bar, with artwork inspired by some of its icons – from Joseph Pease to the Rocket locomotive.

He has also invented the “Darlington dabber” – a black and white lollipop, flavoured with raspberry and passionfruit – to tempt in shoppers.

He said: “I’ve always wanted a sweet shop but I wanted to wait until the kids were old enough and I had the time to give it everything.

“Darlington is important to me, it’s where my roots are so I wanted to do something nice that shows off the town. It’s personal to me and I hope people enjoy the experience.

“We’re selling confectionary so it should be something that is fun. I hope the effort we’ve put in will show that.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The artwork in the shop window – featuring the Rocket locomotive pulling a cart of Darlington dabbers – has been designed by Darlington children’s author and illustrator Helen Stephens, who is Mr Raine’s sister-in-law.

He will be selling everything from sherbet lemons and cola cubes from old-fashioned sweet jars to chocolate and candies from all over the world, as well as American-style shakes.

The father-of-two has been selling sweets to businesses for 17 years, but apart from a spell when he had a stall at the Cornmill Shopping Centre, has never had a shop before.

He had hoped to open it earlier in the year but had to delay plans because of the lockdown.

Instead, he has been offering a delivery service to customers, donating a percentage of the profits to Darlington Memorial Hospital, Bishop Auckland Hospital and Age UK.

He will be getting help to run the shop from his mother Anne Boshier and 16-year-old daughter Holly.

He added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be opening. This has been a dream of mine for 17 years. The idea has always sat there, dormant but now is the right time for my family.

“Hopefully people will enjoy what we have on offer.

“I’m excited and can’t wait to show people.”