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Obituary: John Dunning – well-known businessman and owner of Milford Supplies

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WELL-known businessman John Dunning, who ran a butchers shop, clothing store and most recently Milford Supplies, has died aged 85.

John took on the store in Gore Road, New Milton, in 1989, when it was then known as Milford Surplus. As the store grew it changed its name to Milford Supplies and is still run by his children and grandchildren.

Born in Totton, he was only a child when his father Frank was captured in Singapore by the Japanese and put to work on the railway in Burma. Due to the bombing in Southampton, John was sent to the safe haven of his aunt’s house in Bristol, where he also spent some summer holidays.

John Dunning
John Dunning

As a young man he was called up for national service and served in Cyprus – his first overseas trip, which gave him a taste for travel.

On his return John followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather into the family profession of butchery, working at his father’s shop in Totton.

He met his future wife Sandra at the hairdressers’ next to his butchers shop and they married in 1959.

They have three children: Andrew, Jo and Jamie, as well as six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The couple enjoyed developing houses together and moved 16 times throughout the years. This included living in Wellow, Hythe, Sway and Brockenhurst.

In 1966 John opened Sway Butchers and later, two further shops in Lymington and Brockenhurst. He built a reputation for selling quality meat and supplied hotels and restaurants throughout the New Forest.

He was known by his customers for his “big smile, cheeky banter and honesty”, said his family.

In his spare time, he helped with Sway Cub Scouts, Lymington Sprites football team and SWAG (Sway Welfare Aid Group).

After a brief retirement he opened a shop called Country Image in Brockenhurst, selling clothing, before taking on Milford Surplus.

A big sports fan, John was goalkeeper for the Woodlands Football Club and also played for Paultons Cricket Club, where he helped build the current club house. He was also a lifelong Southampton Football Club supporter and season ticket holder.

John enjoyed travel, and with Sandra visited many parts of the world including Alaska, Argentina, Africa, the Far East, China, the Cook Islands, Australia and New Zealand.

Another pastime of John’s was growing vegetables, and he always ensured his lawn was perfect for Sunday games with the family.

John was cared for at home before he passed away at Oakhaven Hospice on 10th March.

A celebration of his life will take place at St Nicholas’ Church, Brockenhurst, on 29th March at 2.30pm. Donations in aid of Oakhaven can be made via Maria Jones Funeral Directors.

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