‘Aly brought lots of love and happiness to a lot of people’
The family of Aly Turner were left in no doubt about what he meant to Melton when people lined the street to pay their last respects as his funeral cortege passed slowly through the town centre.
Aly touched the lives of generations of adults and children through running his flower shop in Sherrard Street for many years and then opening a cafe nearby for young people.
He was many other things too, including a market trader, a successful greyhound racer and a much-loved family man.
Aly passed away peacefully at his Saltby home aged 90, and because only close family could attend his funeral at Loughborough Crematorium due to Covid restrictions, friends and well-wishers were invited to gather along Sherrard Street, where he worked for so many years.
Debbie Turner, Aly’s daughter-in-law, said: “It was very overwhelming and moving that so many people showed up.
“Aly made a difference to a lot of children’s lives when he ran the Six Four Coffee Bar.
“We have had so many messages from people, young and old, via cards, and Facebook - everyone has been so kind.”
Albert ‘Aly’ Turner was born in Ab Kettleby in June 1930 down a lane known as ‘The Alley’, which is where his name ‘Aly’ came from when the nickname stuck.
He was one of 12 children - the others being Lily, Joe, Maisie, Iris, Elizabeth, Win, Lol, Eric, Bim, Vera and Sue.
Aly attended the village school and then the boys’ modern school before leaving aged 14 while the Second World War was still raging.
His first job was running a small greengrocer’s in Melton the Premier Store on Sherrard Street, with his sister, Maisie.
They didn’t have their own transport and so travelled on the train early every day to Leicester wholesale market to pick up stock, which they loaded on a cart back in Melton to take to the shop.
They were the first outlet in the town to stock bananas and people queued for long periods to buy them.
Aly met Patricia in 1960 and they were married at St Mary’s Church, Melton, two years later.
He set up a new fruit and veg shop and the couple lived above it for six months.
His brother, Eric, became a partner in the business and the Premier Store was turned into a florist shop, which Patricia helped run.
Aly also ran Tuesday and Saturday fruit and veg market stalls in the Market Place.
The Turners moved to a house in Kirby Bellars, where their two sons were born - Richard in 1963 and Michael in 1966 - before buying their first home three years later in Severn Hill, Melton.
Business was picking up, so they decided to set up a larger shop selling just flowers, called Flower Paradise, which became an instant success, due to lots of hard work and support from the local people, including members of the Polish community which had settled in Melton just after the war.
Aly, who moved with his wife next to Leicester Road, ran the florists until 1980 and he then decided to set up the 64 Coffee Bar, which was a refuge for the children of Melton, providing them with somewhere safe to meet, play pool and enjoy regular day trips.
He retired from the coffee bar in 1990 but started helping son, Richard, with his new business at Lake View Fishery alongside grandson, Jamie.
One of Aly’s greatest passions was keeping, training and racing greyhounds, attending race nights at Peterborough every week.
Other hobbies included playing cricket in his younger years at Ab Kettleby, where the team was made up of mostly of the Turner boys, and latterly playing whist.
He also loved getting involved in the annual Melton Day event and was proud to win the float competition one year, whem the children were dressed as Beefeaters for a twinning theme.
Aly and Patricia, who would have celebrated their diamond wedding next January, lived latterly at their cottage in Saltby when she devoted her time to looking after him in his final days.
Debbie added: “Aly was definitely a people person, he lived life to the full and brought lots of love and happiness to a lot of people.
“We will all miss him dearly.”
As well as Patricia, Richard and Michael, Aly leaves daughter-in-laws Debbie and Diane, grandchildren Luke, Jamie, Tom, and Abby, plus great-grandchild, Teddy.