“ANY NEWS, DICK?” Nicky Grace chatting with newsagent Dick Rellis about times past before the closure of his shop on Ballybricken at lunchtime on Friday 27th January after half a century in business. Friends and family turned up to say goodbye to one of the Hill’s institutions and most popular personalities, whose kindly rapport with his customers was his calling card. He said the thing he’ll miss most is the daily contact with people and the chat, but he’ll keep doing the crosswords in retirement, and is looking forward to walks on the Greenway with his wife Maureen. Photos: Noel Browne

One of the great institutions on the Hill of Ballybricken closed its doors for the last time on Friday last at 1pm. Dick Rellis, the affable proprietor, decided to bring down the shutters on his iconic ‘Rellis’s Newsagent’ shop after an incredible 50 years of serving the people of the historic area of Waterford City.

Dick stocked the full gamut of football and music magazines, hundreds of comics, newspapers and all sorts of sweets and of course the all-important lottery tickets. I can fondly remember heading to Dick during the late 60s and all through the 70s to collect my ‘Shoot!’ and ‘Goal’ magazines every Thursday and of course the absolutely vital ‘New Musical Express’ paper every Friday.

Dick had an uncanny knack of being able to source back-issues, which were priceless and thankfully many of them are still proudly tucked away hidden in my attic.

The closure of ‘Rellis’s Newsagent’ brought the memories flooding back for many Waterford folk who were lucky enough to be a customer of Dick. The following comments were posted on social media.

Paddy Corcoran shaking hands with Dick Rellis and wishing him all the best in his retirement.

Samantha Brennan-Molloy: “I used to love going there after Mass on a Sunday morning. Dad would get his newspaper and I would get a magazine and my sweets.”

Cieran O’Regan: “I used to walk from Hillview to Ballybricken before going into work in Telecom Eireann in the 80’s and 90’s. Great memories.”

Eileen Duggan: “Ah no. What a great shop. I remember getting my comics there as a child.”

Issy Foley-Kennedy: “Ah that’s so sad. What a great shop. It really was part and parcel of Ballybricken.”

Billy Ryan: “The mornings just won’t be the same anymore. The banter between the Kilkenny and Waterford people was priceless. Happy retirement Dick, even if you are a Kilkenny man (ha ha).”

Mark Power: “Dick was a gent. Always a brilliant shop. I used to get my heavy metal and football mags there. If he did not have them’ he would order them for me.”

Michael Winkle: “It was my home back in the 50s. Happy days. It was owned by two sisters named Baldwin. So sorry to see Dick leave.”

Dick Rellis pictured with his final customers before his retirement, Billy Costine, Betty Hutchinson, Maggie and Sophie Moody and Breda Chester.

Yes, sadly another wonderful part of our heritage has disappeared. Enjoy every second of your retirement Dick.

Matt Keane
Email: booterkeane@gmail.com