EDWARD Skett, whose company operated Stratford-upon-Avon’s markets for over 50 years, has died at the age of 84.
He was born in Handsworth, Birmingham, the eldest son of seven children, and is survived by three children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandson.
After completing his National Service in 1951 in the Royal Engineers, Ted began selling army surplus at Kidderminster Market, where he met his wife Betty, who died in 2002.
Together they set up a market stall and business selling haberdashery and became known as Mr Buttons with stalls and shops around the Midlands.
In 1956 Ted was given the opportunity to manage Stratford’s Charter Market in Rother Street, and E G Skett and Co continued to operate it until 2011, establishing one of the first farmers’ markets in the country.
He was also committed to supporting the Christmas lights and played a part in the creation of the mosaic around the American Fountain.
It seemed a natural decision to make this area the head office and also Welford his home, which he called his “heaven”.
Operations of other markets quickly followed in Warwick and Banbury, and several other towns throughout the Midlands.
It was in 1971, while on a family day out, that Ted discovered Halfpenny Green Airport near Stourbridge, and his dream of creating a huge outdoor market and family day began.
An exhaustive legal battle to see Sunday trading repealed followed, and he was one of the original campaigners, with many parts of this test case used for further influence for change.
The market’s phenomenal success continued uninterrupted until 2002.
In 1986 his company acquired Pershore Airfield in Worcestershire, where the successful blueprint for Halfpenny Green Airport Market was reapplied.
Ted enjoyed a good retirement pursuing his hobbies of photography, travel and all kinds of ‘gadgetry’.
The company, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary, remains in Stratford, and it was with great pride that Ted saw the firm continue to flourish and diversify with the third generation of the family.
His funeral will take place at Oakley Wood Crematorium at 3pm on Monday, 25th April.