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Tributes to Felixstowe grocer

PUBLISHED: 20:34 22 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

A FORMER Felixstowe grocer, whose family traded in the town for more than 75 years, has died at the age of 90.

Douglas Burt was a well-known figure at the resort, who ran a number of shops in the town centre with his relatives.

A FORMER Felixstowe grocer, whose family traded in the town for more than 75 years, has died at the age of 90.

Douglas Burt was a well-known figure at the resort, who ran a number of shops in the town centre with his relatives.

The businesses began when his uncle Hilder opened a shop called Grocer and Italian Warehouseman in Orwell Road.

When he fell ill in 1905, Douglas's father Ernest Burt moved to Felixstowe from Norton near, Bury St Edmunds, to help him out – and within six months had taken over the business and set about developing it.

Ten years later, Ernest had a new shop built in Hamilton Road – where WH Smith stands today – and for 20 years after it closed it 1979, the mosaic front step containing an exact representation of his signature still existed.

Ernest also had three more town centre shops built, and supplied vegetables and groceries to the town's leading hotels, under the slogans "Burt's for Quality Always" and "You can get it at Burt's".

Its delivery vans were a familiar part of local life, seen all over the area.

He also opened an off-licence on the corner of Gainsborough and Felix Roads, and in 1966 this part of the business was incorporated into the main shop in Hamilton Road.

There were also two other off-licences – one in Walton High Street and one in Cauldwell Hall Road, Ipwich.

Douglas and his younger brother George, now 78, followed their father into the family business and became well-known local personalities.

During the war their sister Vera looked after the business while they were away on active service.

George ran the wine side of the business, while Douglas concentrated on the grocery operation. Coffee was freshly ground and roasted on the shop premises, which held a large and varied stock.

Many people in the town today say their main memory of the shop was the aroma of coffee as you entered and the fact that the brothers were so willing to get you any item you needed, even ordering from specialist firms.

Douglas, who lived in Old Felixstowe, leaves a widow Winnie, and two daughters, Rosalie and Angela, and three grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Peter and St Paul Church, Ferry Road, on Friday October 26 at 11.30am.

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