Customers have raised more than £1,000 to help a popular chippie van return to business after problems with the vehicle.

An anonymous GoFundMe campaign was set up by a customer who was missing the fish and chips from Tony’s Frying Machine

The chippie has been operated by Tony Easterbrook, 54, of East Wellow, since 2017 and regularly visits multiple towns and villages around Salisbury, including Fordingbridge, Winterslow, Alderbury, Landford and Whiteparish.

The GoFundMe campaign was created under the profile name of “Chippy Eater”, who said they would donate the money they would have otherwise spent on meals at Tony’s Frying Machine to help the owner, Tony 'recoup some of the money he’s missed out on and get back to business as soon as possible'.

As of Thursday, January 25, 60 customers have together donated a total of £1,155, with one anonymous donor contributing £100.

Tony took to Facebook to express his gratitude for the generosity of his customers.

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Tony said: “This page was set up by an anonymous person who has touched mine and my wife's hearts that people are so concerned for us and the business, and they miss us so much.

"About nine months ago, we were ready to pack it all in, as the number of people using the van was at an all-time low. We looked at a couple of other businesses to invest our small savings in, but in the end, decided to stay with what we know.”

Tony went on to explain that he purchased his current van on a limited budget and despite its apparent reliability and good condition during a test drive, the vehicle had complications.

Tony said: “Unfortunately there have been a few issues with the new van which I half expected. We are working on this - it should hopefully will be sorted by the end of this week all going well. We are touched by the support and love shown and look forward to seeing you all soon.”

The van broke down in Fordingbridge on Saturday, January 13 and Tony was unable to return it to working order until collecting it back from the garage on Wednesday, January 24.

Tony said: “It turned out not to be as bad as we thought it was, so it’s all fixed now and we’re back on the road tonight.”

On Thursday, January 25, Tony said he would be able to take the van out again, operating outside of Winterslow Village Hall for the evening from 4.30pm to 7.45pm.

Tony, who has still not learned who set up the GoFundMe campaign, said he was a "bit embarrassed" about it but appreciated the show of support.

He said: “We are a business and you have your ups and downs in business, but also we’re very honoured that our customers appreciate us that much.

“Our regular regulars- they’re amazing customers. They’re week-in week-out for us. We feel guilty when something like this happens, we’re not there for them, because they do miss us.”