Always remembered: Barclay Riddiford memorial bench unveiled in Thornbury
3:02pm Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
Diane Boulter of the Knot of Rope pub in Thornbury with Olly Riddiford, grandson of Barclay Riddiford at the memorial bench on Mundy Playing fields. Money was raised by customers at the pub for the bench in memory of Barclay Riddiford (1630281)
HE was known as Mr Open All Hours, always on call to cater to Thornburians’ every shopping need, midnight craving and cheeky cigarette break.
The sudden death of town character Barclay Riddiford left a gaping hole in the lives of those who knew, loved and respected him last spring.
But devoted friends and faithful customers have once again placed him at the heart of the community he cherished by unveiling a bench in his honour at the Mundy Playing Fields.
His passing was a shock to all, not least to his 'neighbour' Dave Boulter, the manager of the Knot of Rope, who determined to find a way to pay homage to the late father-of-two and owner of L.E Riddiford.
Hoping to raise enough for a small memorial and token for his family, he placed a collection jar in the pub inviting patrons to drop in a few coins.
Donations immediately poured in, reaching £260 within days, and Mr Boulter along with the Riddifords opted to erect a bench at the busy playing fields.
He said: “The bench cost £370 so we added the rest. I have known him since I was a kid. I spoke to him many a night. He is greatly missed.
“We were not sure what we were doing in the beginning but the money started flying in. We thought a bench was a good idea.”
Bar manager Joseph Boyd added: “We pop down to get bits and bobs from the shop. When we finish at 2.30am at the weekend that’s when we would go to the shop after work and chat to him. Barclay would always be there.
“We put the bench at the Mundy Playing Fields because of the community aspect. He was a big part of the community. That’s one way to keep his memory alive.”
Barclay suffered a heart attack in the early hours of Saturday, April 13 and died shortly afterwards.
Around 500 townspeople and shop owners attended his funeral at St Mary's Church.
He officially took over the family business in 1983, having worked at the grocery store for most of his life and introduced the popular late-night opening hours, which earned him the nickname Mr Open All Hours.
Barclay’s grandson Oliver, who now runs L.E Riddiford with his father John, told the Gazette: “Customers were very generous and it showed what people thought of granddad.
“It was nice to know how much they liked him and nice of them to give money in memory of him.”
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