Bury St Edmunds: End of era as popular shop owner, 77, dies

A MUCH-loved owner of a family newsagents which traded in the heart of a west Suffolk town for more than 75 years has died.

Joe Herrington, 77, ran W Herrington and Son, in Bury St Edmunds, for almost 50 years.

The popular store in Risbygate Street employed 32 daily paper boys at its height, when customers would queue to get their papers and cigarettes from the shop at 4.30pm every day.

But an era in Bury’s history has come to an end as Mr Herrington died on Saturday, having suffered from Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Jim Herrington, Mr Herrington’s son, said: “He was a gentle man and very much loved.

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“He would never go out without a tie on. Everyone in town knew him and knew the shop. He was a part of Bury’s history really.”

Joe Herrington took over the running of the shop from his father, Walter, who had bought the store and run it as a grocers and newsagents after the First World War.

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Open from 4.30am every day except Christmas Day, trade at the store was brisk as it sat alongside the main route to Felixstowe and attracted business from passing lorries and students at the nearby college.

“My father was proud he was part of a successful family business which served the people of Bury,” Jim Herrington, 47, said. “It was very much a part of the community.

“People always used to see people they knew in there. Things have changed so much – you don’t have shops like that in Bury any more.”

Mr Herrington ran the shop with his wife, Jean, who later opened a wool and baby shop next door.

The couple feared the opening of the new A45 in the late 1960s would dent their trade but the business continued to grow over the years, despite the opening of the Key Markets supermarket directly opposite in later years.

But the pair decided to leave the gruelling 4.30am starts to retire in 1998 and sold the business to a private owner, who transformed the former shop into a home. “It was sad because it had been in my family for so long,” Jim Herrington said. “My father loved the characters we used to have in the shop, many of whom are long gone.”

Mr Herrington lived with his wife in Horsecroft Road, in Bury, until he moved to Risby Hall nursing home just a few months before he died.

All friends are welcome to attend a funeral and celebration of Mr Herrington’s life at St Mary’s Church, in Bury, on Monday at 2pm.

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