Ipswich: Jeweller dies after long cancer battle

ROBERT Croydon, a well-known figure in the jewellery business in East Anglia for half a century, has died at the age of 67 after a long battle with cancer.

Mr Croydon grew up in Rushmere, near Ipswich, and was educated at Felsted School in Essex before taking a year out with Voluntary Service Overseas and then joining the family business, Croydons, established in 1874.

He married his wife, Martha, in 1969 and after beginning their married life in Norwich, where he managed the firm’s store in Castle Street for a time, they made their home in Woodbridge, with their daughters, Annabelle, Tanya and Sophie.

In l989 the family was struck by tragedy when Annabelle died in a car accident together with her close friend Andrea Smith.

The 1990s brought difficult trading conditions on the high street and in 1994 Croydons when into receivership. Mr Croydon was later barred from serving as a company director for five years after the High Court heard he had used �367,000 of the jewellery firm’s money to finance a separate business.

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He began to rebuild his life with a move back to Norwich where he was appointed manager of jewellers Winsor Bishop in London Street, which he successfully ran and eventually bought in 2001.

He has continued to grow the business with a second store, Pandora, being opened in Chapelfield, Norwich, and work underway to expand the London Street store.

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In 2005, he was joined in the business by daughter Sophie.

During his career Mr Croydon was a keen Round Table and Rotary member and in 2009 he was president of the National Association of Goldsmiths. He also served as a magistrate.

Mr Croydon, whose wife died of cancer in 2005, was first diagnosed with cancer himself in 2000.

Besides his two daughters, he leaves three grandchildren and his companion of the last five years Jilly Buch.

There will be a private family funeral, with a service of thanksgiving being held at Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday, April 20 at 2pm with donations in his memory going to the Quidenham Hospice.

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