A PARTY supplies company based in Dorset for more than 70 years has ceased trading.

Peeks, based in Christchurch, called in liquidators after the coronavirus crisis put paid to a restructuring plan for the business.

Although the current company was incorporated in 1966, the business had been around since 1946.

It sold its partyware online, from a mail order catalogue and from its shop in Reid Street.

But the coronavirus lockdown forced it to close the store at a key time of year, without the boost from the parties that would have taken place to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

It is understood the company had been through a difficult three years, citing the uncertainty over Brexit, and was planning a restructure this year.

However, the internet and mail order side of the business closed along with the shop when the lockdown began, and the crisis put an end to the restructuring plans.

The company voluntarily appointed Portland Business Support as liquidators.

The liquidator’s statement of affairs is understood to show trade creditors of £121,760.

Peeks was founded by Bournemouth-born Charles Peek, an RAF navigator in the Second World War.

He began the business with a small shop in Tuckton shortly after the war and went on to sell giftware from lock-up garages.

The firm grew and by the 1950s, Peeks was hiring children’s rides and sideshow equipment. In the 1970s, it began distributing a colour catalogue to pubs and hotels across the country.

Managing director Nick Peek, a grandson of Charles Peek, had hailed its Christmas 2019 season as one of its best ever. The company had taken on a record volume of stock to meet demand.

It is not the first long-established family business locally to succumb to the Covid-19 crisis. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Three Cross Motorcycles at Three Legged Cross was in administration.