Tributes to pioneering shopkeeper

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known shopkeeper who died suddenly from cancer.Within a four-week period Chris Musson became ill, was admitted to St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich and then died.

By Richard Smith

TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known shopkeeper who died suddenly from cancer.

Within a four-week period Chris Musson became ill, was admitted to St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich and then died.

Mr Musson, 58, of Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, had a ''short but spirited struggle with cancer''. He leaves a legacy of an independent shopkeeper who spoke his mind, pioneered trends that supermarkets followed and was prepared to challenge bureaucracy.


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Father-of-two Mr Musson used to own Loaves and Fishes in the Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, and he continued to work in the shop after he sold the business.

He moved to Suffolk to teach yoga and share his knowledge of healthy eating habits, which he had learnt at the Kushi Institute at the East/West Centre in London.

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But he discovered that his students were having difficulties obtaining natural foods and he started off buying in bulk and taking it into classes.

He then decided to go into business and the personal service, product knowledge and innovation set the shop apart from High Street names.

Mark Balaam, shop manager, worked closely with Mr Musson for 25 years. Mr Balaam said: ''When Chris was ill we were inundated with customers asking after him. After all these years people got to know him quite personally.

''After the shop changed hands Chris wanted to slip into retirement, play golf, do some shooting and enjoy a few hours working here.

''He was a really genuine soul and I do not think you would find a bad bone in his body. He had a gentlemanly quality about him and the advice that he has given to me about retail, food and nutrition is second to none.''

Margaret Williams, a close friend who used to work in Loaves and Fishes, said: ''Chris was an innovative person.

''He used to be a driving force and he made people sit up in Woodbridge. He started selling things that other people then followed, like health foods.''

Lilias Sheepshanks, of Eyke, knew Mr Musson well. He used to work for her late brother Peter Noble, a wine merchant, in London.

''Chris did not suffer fools gladly and he had very high standards for health, safety and cleanliness way before health and safety came on the scene.

''He was way ahead of his time in selling health foods, he had lovely fresh fish and he was just terrific. He was so obliging and enormously caring.

''I think his courage and the way he has coped with life in general was quite splendid,'' she said.

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