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Obituary: Tony Puzey – Purewell's 'Mr Fix-it' who ran Box's on Somerford Road



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KNOWN both to his customers and family as ‘Mr Fix-it’ there was little that former ironmonger Tony Puzey, who has died at the age of 83, could not repair.

Tony owned an ironmongers shop in Somerford Road, Christchurch, which became known locally as Box’s.

Daughter Helen recalls: “Dad hated to throw anything away. If the kids broke any of their toys, they’d say: ‘It’s alright, granddad will fix it.’

Tony Puzey owned an ironmongers shop in Somerford Road
Tony Puzey owned an ironmongers shop in Somerford Road

“Even in his last years he was always mending and fixing things – he loved DIY.”

Tony and his wife Pamela, who lived in Jumpers Road, Christchurch, their whole married life, were gifted the ironmongers by Pamela’s father Fred Box, who had been given it as payment of a debt. A customer of his could not pay his bill so handed over the deeds to the store.

The shop was renamed F.G. Box & Sons, and Pamela and Tony, who was born and brought up in Byron Road, Barton, took it over in 1963.

“They both absolutely loved running the shop,” said Helen. “It was an old-fashioned shop with no frills, no card machine, no credit allowed. You could go in and buy just five nails if you needed them.

“Dad had a wicked sense of humour and had nicknames for all his regular customers. When one lady was about to come in, he’d shout to us kids – ‘Watch out here comes the candle queen!’.

“All his customers loved him – many became lifelong friends and continued to visit him and mum after they retired in 2009, which really meant a lot to him.

“All these new health and safety rules were brought in and dad couldn’t be bothered with all that; he didn’t like being told what he could and couldn’t sell. They were both very sad to see the shop go.

“But he kept the shop’s green Leyland van and would go round doing odd jobs for former customers.”

Tony had four children – Andrew, Claire, who died in 1974, Kerry and Helen – four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In a newspaper article about the couple’s retirement, Tony said the shop had been a “way of life” for him and Pamela, but added that ‘ironmongers are a dying breed”.

Tony, who died at home of cancer on 11th April, enjoyed fishing in his spare time and had his own boat.

Described as a “devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather”, Helen said Tony was someone “who just couldn’t sit still – he always had to be on the go; always working away on something.”

A funeral service has been held at Bournemouth crematorium.



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