DIY businessman dies of heart attack

BUSINESSMAN Bill Newman loved to joke to his family that he started his first firm with a bag of tools and a bike.He later opened Felixstowe's first DIY shop, other businesses in the town, and his name still lives on in the family firm now run by his daughter and son-in-law.

By Richard Cornwell

BUSINESSMAN Bill Newman loved to joke to his family that he started his first firm with a bag of tools and a bike.

He later opened Felixstowe's first DIY shop, other businesses in the town, and his name still lives on in the family firm now run by his daughter and son-in-law.

Today tributes were paid to Mr Newman, who has died at the age of 81 after suffering a heart attack at his home in Bridge Road, Levington.


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His wife Betty and daughter Irene spoke of his zest for life and how he loved to help people whenever he could.

"He led a very full life and at times are our lives were very hectic. He didn't retire until he was 75 – and even then he was so busy all the time," said Mrs Newman.

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"Bill always had a friendly word or a wave for everyone. If people in the village needed a hand he was there to help and he did jobs at the church and the village hall. He was a modest man but always generous with heart and spirit."

Mr Newman, who had two children and five grandchildren, first started a business in his home town Haverhill and moved to Felixstowe in 1956, opening a DIY store in Hamilton Road. Before he left Haverhill he made sure he found all his old employees new jobs.

The emphasis at the Felixstowe shop was on personal service and staff spent much of their time giving advice, helping customers choose wallpaper and paints, and tracking down items people wanted.

As the business flourished, Mr Newman opened a joinery manufacturing workshop in Orwell Road and later premises in Recreation Lane. He also opened a gardening shop in St Andrews Road which Mrs Newman ran.

He sold the businesses 26 years ago and became director of Arctic Windows. He then started a new business in Manningtree, which his family still run today.

Mr and Mrs Newman were both active in the local theatre scene, and starred in many shows at the Spa Pavilion, charity ones for the blind society and FADOS, and helped launched Felixstowe Musical Theatre.

He was a past chairman of the chamber of trade, and for 47 years – until his death – a member of the choir at St John's Church, Felixstowe.

He loved gardening and won the Levington Flower Show Cup for the best floral garden seven times.

Mrs Newman said her husband's fatal heart attack was his second in a few weeks. She praised and thanked the ambulance service for their quick response and all their help.

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