A TRULY inspirational Haslemere shopkeeper has retired after 41 years at the helm.

Electrician and former rotary club president Martin Mustart lost his sight in a car crash in 1976.

Undeterred, he opened his own shop MRM just two years later.

Mr Mustart’s daughter Carrie Gilbertson said: “He never wanted to see being blind as a disability.

“We are really proud of all that he has achieved and the fact that he has not only kept going, but has also had a very happy attitude.

“For anyone facing disability, he is a true testament that you can do it, and we love him to bits.”

Mr Mustart’s first shop was in Kings Road and he ran it solo until 1981, when Andy Ancill joined him.

MRM relocated to Camelsdale in 1982, where it has remained, and Mr Ancill retired in 2012.

For the past seven years, Mr Mustart has been more or less in sole charge, with two mornings help in the shop and book keeping support.

Worried about how her son would manage, his mother kept him company for the first year in 1978.

But she left when she realised how well he was doing.

To start with, Mr Mustart relied on pricing in Braille was a huge help when the talking calculator and computer arrived.

So adept has he become, he often has to tell customers who have not realised that he is blind.

Mr Mustart said: “I have never had anyone who has done me any wrong.

“New customers don’t nevessarily know I’m blind, unless something comes up and I have to tell them.

“It’s all gone quite satisfactorily. I feel quite lucky.

“I’m frustrated by my disability. It’s not something I find easy to talk about.

“It’s been a good life. I’ve enjoyed it.

“My customers are always interesting and I have made many friends.

“I’ve always liked having a little bit of banter.”