A traditional newsagents shop in Kirkby is closing its doors after 30 years, following the death of its much-loved owner.
Regular customers gathered at Osborne’s Newsagents on Saturday to pay their respects to Ian Osborne, who died suddenly of a suspected heart attack, aged 73.
His daughter Suzanne Wildman and Mary Hardy, who worked behind the counter of the Station Street shop for ten years, hosted the tribute before shutting up shop for the last time.
Mary, 55, said: “We were reminiscing and having some laughs about what he used to get up to and toasting him for the years he had done there. It was merry as well as sad. The public all said what a gentleman he was. A lot of people - especially the younger ones, called him Mister O. He got on with everyone.
“His death was a shock - it suddenly hit him. He was the best boss I ever had.”
Daughter Suzanne said: “It has been really heartwarming. When I was a little girl I remember a lot of the customers and they are still there. He had paper boys who are the sons of old paper boys. I have got friends from Kirkby who have been delivery people for my dad. Mary has had so many bunches of flowers. They were a really good partnership.”
Ian, who lived Lucknow Drive, had been recovering from five weeks’ of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer. He was born in Sutton and worked as a railway clerk before realising his dream of opening a newsagents. Outside work, his interests included gardening, astronomy and sports; he was a qualified football referee and doted on his grandson, three-year-old Sam.
Suzanne, 34, said that the business had suffered because of the Morrison’s store, but a nearby bus stop had helped trade. She added: “A lot of people said he was a gentleman. He built the business around his regulars.”