Long-serving Melton florist hands over family business to new owners after 70 years at shop

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One of Melton’s most recognised shopkeepers is getting used to retirement after working for 70 years in the family business.

Albert ‘Aly’ Turner has sold his beloved Flower Paradise shop in Sherrard Street.

He was just 14 and Britain was at war with Germany when he started working alongside his father, Josiah.

So it was an emotional day when he handed over the keys to new owners Raj and Laya Kumar last month.

Generations of Meltonians have visited the family shop over the years and some regulars didn’t even know he was selling up.

Mr Turner (84) said: “I left in a quiet way because I wanted the new owners to have a good start to their business.

“It was very emotional to pack it in for me and for my son, Richard, who has managed the shop for the last 30 years.

“I can’t walk down the street now for people saying ‘why didn’t you tell us you were leaving the shop?’ because I didn’t tell many.”

After leaving the old Modern Boys’ School in King’s Road in 1940, Mr Turner started work in the family’s new shop, which was then called Premier Stores.

In those days, with rationing in full swing, they sold groceries, fruit, vegetables and flowers, grown on a small plot at Ab Kettleby.

The business struggled after the war but it was rekindled by selling from market stalls every Tuesday and Saturday.

“Melton people have been very loyal to us,” said Mr Turner, who also used to run the popular 6-4 Coffee Bar in the town in the 1980s.

“One of the customers - a lady who lives on Rosebery Avenue - used to come in when I first worked there as a lad.”

He remembers his biggest order was for the funeral of a traveller, whose family wanted 42 wreath tributes.

Mr Turner is now enjoying retirement with wife, Patricia, who also worked in the shop for many years. The couple also have a son, Michael, as well as Richard, who manages Lakeview Fishery at Holwell.

l We are offering readers the opportunity to win a hostess bouquet from Flower Paradise, worth £25.

To stand a chance of winning one, answer this question: Name a flower which blooms in January?

Send your answer with contact details on a postcard to Bouquet Competition, Melton Times, 49 Nottingham Street, Melton LE13 1NT.