AFTER 22 years in The Borough in Farnham, Breaking Free is set to close its doors for good.

Owner Dave Harvey has confirmed the outdoor clothing and equipment shop will shut on April 13.

He will be retiring from the world of retail, with plans to spend more time with his grandchildren and, of course, outdoors walking.

Dave opened the doors of Breaking Free after selling Birdworld, where he was one of the owners alongside his brother and sister.

His parents opened Birdworld, which is located in Holt Pound, to the public in 1968.

Along with his brother and his sister, Dave went on to take over the running of the park before selling the business in 1996 to Denys E Head Ltd, which still owns Birdworld today.

Dave began his next venture at Breaking Free as it was the “obvious next step”, adding that the outdoors “was always part of my life” and he has “always been working in the retail side of things”.

He said: “I always used to be out walking and climbing and doing that sort of thing and so Breaking Free appeared.”

A new independent shop will be making its way to the premises on May 1, but Dave was unable to confirm details of the store at this time.

“But it is going to be another independent, not outdoors or anything but it is an independent which is nice, I’m pleased about that,” he added.

During his 22 years running Breaking Free, which can be found in the Town Hall Buildings, Dave said they have seen “children who were in buggies when they first came in and now are adults”.

He said: “I’ve loved it.

“I love the business and working for the public and 99.9 per cent are fantastic, it’s good fun.

“I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Breaking Free has “always done things with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme”, working especially with Weydon School.

Dave continued: “I’m an outdoor person so people always come in asking for advice and we’re only too pleased to do that.”

The shop also has close ties to the Farnham Walking Festival, which it has sponsored and “always helped run”.

It is the third year the walking festival has taken place and this year will run once again for two weeks, from May 19 to June 2.

“Even though that is after we close, we’re still helping out with that,” Dave told the Herald.

“We’re doing all the booking side of it again, but it’ll be all e-mail based this year because people won’t be able to ring me here. It will still go on.”

He also confirmed that they will continue to be involved in the Farnham Walking Festival “as long as we’re in this area” - “in future years we’ll probably move, but while we’re here, yes”.

As well as getting out and about walking, Dave makes live steam trains and so plans to spend more time on those.

He is still a Scout leader and will continue to be involved in the Scout movement during his retirement.

Dave is also hoping to spend more time on photography and travelling - “all the things that we haven’t been able to do because we’ve been stuck here for the whole time!”.

“So now I’ll go out and enjoy myself,” he continued.

Dave would like to thank Breaking Free’s customers and said: “Thanks very much for all your business and for all the fun we’ve had really with everybody.

“It’ll be a sad day when we do close.”

* Breaking Free is currently offering a closing down sale of 20 per cent off all items. Shop in store or online at