THE Forest’s leading vinyl record store is to close for good, the family of its founder has confirmed following his death last year.

Forest Vinyl, based in Foxes Bridge Road, Cinderford, closed its doors in November last year following the death of Steve Helsdown, who had run the what started as a hobby business in 2014.

Steve died unexpectedly at the age of 66, leaving the company without any directors and as a result banking facilities were frozen. 

That resulted in his family being unable to process purchases or complete any financial transactions, leaving them with no option, but to close the shop.

In a heart-felt message on social media last week, his wife Annie said: “I cannot express how sorry I am to tell you that Forest Vinyl will not be opening its doors again.

“It’s almost 10 years since Forest Vinyl opened, surpassing all our expectations. It was originally opened in April 2014 as a ‘man cave’, a hobby business to get Steve out of the house following a major heart attack.

“What happened could never have been predicted. Steve found so many others, like himself, passionate about vinyl. Customers became friends, good friends, and his life was completely turned around. People visited from all over the world, having heard from a friend of Forest Vinyl.

“As his wife, I saw how much Forest Vinyl meant to him. Not a business for him, but his life. He loved his new life, in his man cave.

“I want to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of it.”

Steve moved to the Forest as regional manager for Gala Bingo,and began picking up LPs and singles at car boot sales and record fairs as people moved their collections onto CD.

Steve previously explained that he never really got into CDs saying: "They just never did anything for me. If I'm listening to music it's got to be vinyl.”

"I think that the generation coming through, who have only experienced downloads and streaming, are now finding they want something physical.

"For me it's the physical thing of taking it out, placing the needle on the vinyl and listening to the music in the way it was intended to be listened to rather than skipping tracks.

Steve suffered a heart attack in 2013 and.decided to take a different approach to life, setting up Forest Vinyl to indulge his passion.

Steve’s owned some 30,000 discs and his stock was sold all over the world. His collection attracted vinyl music lovers to Cinderford.

Steve embraced Record Store Day, which enabled independent shops to sell exclusive records.

The  shop attracted large crowds until the pandemic and when it returned last year when dozens of music fans rocked up in Cinderford early to get their hands on some rare vinyl.

Steve also presented The Rock Disclosure, a two-hour show on Rocking Fox Radio playing new releases, underrated, overlooked, forgotten or obscure songs that many may never have heard before along with some of his personal favourites.