'Caring' former Ridleys director Arthur Nicholls dies at 93

Arthur Nicholls, who has died aged 93, pictured on his 90th birthday

Arthur Nicholls, who has died aged 93, pictured on his 90th birthday - Credit: Family of Arthur Nicholls

Tributes are being paid to Arthur Nicholls, a well-known former director of Ipswich clothes retailer Ridleys, who has died aged 93.

He also worked with famous charity founder Lady Sue Ryder, and dedicated much of his time to volunteering.

A presentation to Arthur Nicholls at Ridleys Ipswich shop in 1977.

a presentation to Arthur Nicholls at Ridleys Ipswich shop in 1977. - Credit: Archant

Son Edmund said: "He was a very compassionate and caring man, who would help people as much as he could.

"He always felt it was his duty to do voluntary work as well as his main job, and was a great family man and father. We couldn't have had a better dad."

Arthur was company secretary with Ridleys for more than 20 years. As well as its store in Tavern Street, which was an Ipswich institution, the company had other branches.

He visited all of these during his time as a director, in places including London's Jermyn Street, Norwich and Sudbury.

After leaving Ridleys, he set up his own accountancy business, and was also personal assistant to Lady Sue Ryder.

Arthur Nicholls as president of Ipswich Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1968

Arthur Nicholls as president of Ipswich Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1968 - Credit: Family of Arthur Nicholls

Most Read

"They were quite close. She relied on him a lot and used to phone him up for advice," Edmund said.

Arthur was involved in obtaining the Chantry in Ipswich to become a Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre, working with Sir Nick Young on the early stages of the project.  

His many voluntary roles included serving president of Ipswich Junior Chamber and Ipswich East Rotary Club, chairman of the Family Practitioners Committee and of Orbit Housing Association, and being a member of Probus.

He was appointed as a magistrate in 1968, and served for 30 years.

At one time he acted as chairman of the bench, and was very involved with St Andrew's Church in Rushmere.

Arthur and Patricia Nicholls on their wedding day at St John's Church in Ipswich in September 1950   

Arthur and Patricia Nicholls on their wedding day at St John's Church in Ipswich in September 1950 - Credit: Family of Arthur Nicholls

Arthur Nicholls was born on September 25, 1928, in the maternity home in Lower Brook Street, and lived in the Ipswich area all his life.

He was educated at St John’s and Northgate Schools, and used to tell his sons about his memories of the town in wartime.

"When he was about 14, he used to get on his bike and help out with the ARP at the Drill Hall. He was paid one shilling a week," Edmund said.

After leaving school, Arthur worked for the Trustee Savings Bank, before doing his National Service in the RAF from 1947 to 1949.

He and his wife Patricia Henbrey were married in 1950 at St John's Church, and lived in Ladywood Road before moving to Rushmere St Andrew.  

Arthur and Patricia Nicholls, right, at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 1979

Arthur and Patricia Nicholls, right, at a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in 1979 - Credit: Family of Arthur Nicholls

Edmund said: "They had a very happy marriage and travelled around the world together, before mum sadly passed away in October 1993."

In his later years one of his grandsons, Matthew, moved in with him and cared for him. "They got on very well together," Edmund said.  

He stayed at home almost to the last, before moving into Westerfield House just a few weeks ago.

After a brief stay in hospital, he was very keen to get back to the care home, where he passed away peacefully on October 15.

"The staff at Westerfield House were absolutely brilliant and he loved being there," Edmund said. "I'd like to thank the staff there and my son Matthew for their care for Dad."

Arthur had a lifelong love of sport, despite not being able to take part as a youngster because he suffered from rheumatic fever.

He loved watching both football and cricket and was a keen Ipswich Town supporter, holding a season ticket for many years.

Later on, he became an equally dedicated supporter of Ipswich Wanderers.

Arthur Nicholls with wife Patricia

Arthur Nicholls with wife Patricia - Credit: Family of Arthur Nicholls

Edmund said: "He used to go along to the Wanderers matches in his buggy and went to his last match only about four months before he passed away."

He leaves his two sons, Edmund and Keith and daughters-in-law Sandie and Julie, grandchildren Matthew, James, Phillip, William and Richard, step-grandchildren Emma and Katie and great-grandchildren Arthur, Maya and Leo.

There will be a private cremation service on Thursday, November 4, followed by a public memorial service at 2.30pm at Rushmere Church.




Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter