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Milford butcher Dave Gregory fought a long battle with vascular dementia

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RETIRED Milford butcher Dave Gregory has died at the age of 67 after a long battle with vascular dementia.

He was a well-known face in the village where he ran DJ Gregory Butchers on the High Street for many years.

Dave took the difficult decision to close his shop in 2014 and spent a number of years working as a mini bus driver, including transporting children from Sopley to Twynham School in Christchurch.

Dave Gregory (55349980)
Dave Gregory (55349980)

He was born in Barton in January 1955, the eldest of six siblings. He grew up in Highcliffe where his dad worked as a bricklayer and his mum worked in a bakery.

Despite passing his 11-plus, Dave was unable to go to Highcliffe Grammar School because his family could not afford the uniform, so he went to Gore Road School in New Milton.

Always a hard worker, as a youngster Dave had three paper rounds and was a Saturday boy at a butcher in Highcliffe.

After leaving school he had various jobs including labouring and factory work, before he returned to be a butcher at Safeway in New Milton.

He met his future wife, Jan, through friends at the Saddler Bar in Hinton, and the couple were married in August 1981 in Southampton. They travelled to Jersey for a surprise honeymoon booked by Jan’s father.

In 1984, Dave went to work at the butcher’s shop in Milford High Street and four years later he and Jan bought the business, renaming it DJ Gregory Butcher’s. The same year the pair also celebrated the arrival of their daughter Kelly.

Dave with wife Jan and daughter Kelly (55349976)
Dave with wife Jan and daughter Kelly (55349976)

Dave loved his work and made many friends in the village and beyond. Longstanding staff included Hilda and Alvin Jones.

Jan said: “There was always two butchers in Milford – Dave Gregory and Dave Gates. It was a bit confusing but they always got on well and helped each other out when they could. There was never any rivalry.

“When we first ran the shop there were customers queueing up the road – it was very busy.

“But things changed over time, with salmonella then mad cow disease and then Tesco in New Milton opened in 1994 and we saw gradual decline.”

Dave sourced beef direct from Scotland and lamb from Wales, with other meat and eggs supplied by local farmers.

He often swapped meat for fish and vegetables with other traders in the village, and worked alongside Chris Monk at the fishmonger’s to co-ordinate customer deliveries.

Dave Gregory with his daughter Kelly
Dave Gregory with his daughter Kelly

In 2005, Dave and Jan bought a house in Oak Road, Ashley, but continued to run the shop in Milford. They enjoyed a family holiday every year after Christmas although Dave was always reluctant to stop work and have a break.

Although holidays were not really his thing, Dave was passionate about motorbikes and cars – owning two custom Suzuki Intruders and updating his cars ever few months.

Happy family times were spent at Santa Pod raceway in Northamptonshire, and Dave loved taking part in the annual Daisy Chain charity motorcycle run from Totton.

After closing the butcher’s shop in 2014, Dave ran DJ Mini Buses providing school transport and private hire.

He was diagnosed with vascular dementia around five years ago, but was able to remain at home with care from Jan and Kelly. He died on 14th February and his funeral has been held.

Anyone wishing to donate in Dave’s memory can give to Oakhaven Hospice via www.davidgregory.muchloved.com

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