Well-known Somerset pet shop owner passes away
Roy Thatcher, of Thatcher’s Pet Shop in Queen Street, Wells, Somerset, has died at the age of 91.
He worked in the shop until his retirement when his daughter Ann and son in law Rodney Miles took it over and have successfully run the business ever since.
Roy was originally from London and first moved to Somerset as a child during the Second World War when he was evacuated.
As soon as he old enough he joined the Royal Air Force, and initially shipped out to Canada for air crew training, on his return to the UK he was assigned to bomber command and flew in the famous Lancaster bombers.
At the end of war Roy moved back to west Somerset and joined the National Assistance Board, where he worked for three years before being posted to Shepton Mallet, it was then that he took up residency in Chamberlain Street in Wells.
Roy’s son Tony said: “My dad immediately fell in love with the city which became his long-term home – he hasn’t lived anywhere else since.”
Shortly after moving to Wells he took a role with a wholesale seed and corn merchants, and it was during this time his fondness of animals, especially golden retrievers, led him to establish Pets Pantry in Queen Street which he opened in 1958.
Roy continued to work for the seed merchants while the shop was in its infancy and the day to day running was left to he wife Doreen.
The shop expanded and moved across the road to its current site in Queen Street and one of the main attractions was the blue and yellow Macaw, Coco, which could be regularly seen on the pavement on his perch outside the shop.
Roy also set up a company that produced hand stitched leads, collars and bridles, the company also distributed dog biscuits throughout the South West of England.
Tony said: “My parents were great dog lovers and they could regularly seen walking across Palace Fields with their golden retrievers in all weathers.”
In 1993 Roy was awarded the Freedom of the City of London through his right of patrimony and attended the guildhall for his investiture, an honour he was very proud to obtain.
Tony added: “My dad was lucky to have lived in the heart of the city he loved in Priest Row and spent many happy hours in his garden, for which he once received a prize from Wells in Bloom.
“He remained in the cottage and was surrounded by supportive neighbours who regularly looked in on him. Only recently he moved to Fletcher House and after a short illness he passed away at the RUH on August 27. He will be sadly missed by his family.”
Roy’s funeral will take place at St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells, on September 7, at 2pm.