David Walker, of Walker’s Newsagent on High Street, died on December 16 and his family has spoken of his dedication to the business and his customers.
Daughter Suki said: “One of my dad’s proudest achievements was serving the people of Hoyland with newspapers by continuing the family business and he was also very proud to have been a lot of people in Hoyland’s first employer when they worked for him as paper boys and girls while they were at school.”
David joined his father Geoffrey in the family business, which dates back to the 1880s, at 16 and only fully stopped working there when Covid hit and he and his wife, Christine, were forced to isolate although he had started to wind down about a decade before to spend more time with his family.
The family business was started on a horse and cart in Shambles Street, Barnsley, by JR Walker and was continued by David’s grandfather Isaac Litchmere and then passed to David’s father.
The family has always lived in Hoyland and Suki, who now manages the business, has been touched by the number of people who have offered their sympathy and condolences on David’s death: “It is only since my dad passed that I realised what a big part of Hoyland he was. I always thought it was the shop but the number of comments has been lovely.
"We’d really like to thank everyone for their words of support. We, as a family, didn’t realise how many lives he had touched and how he had played a part in so many people’s lives. Only yesterday, someone came into the shop and said that a part of Hoyland had gone with his passing.”
David was highly respected in the newspaper industry and he held many roles in the newsagents’ trade body, the NFRN. He was the youngest ever president of the Barnsley branch, later becoming Yorkshire chairman and the national councillor for Yorkshire.
He was treasurer of the local branch until last year.
“Dad was a very professional man and a lot of people in the Federation looked up to him. I have big boots to fill.”
Once he reduced his working commitments, David and Christine - who would have celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day - spent many happy times in their touring caravan going as far afield as Spain and Croatia. He also spent time with his six grandchildren and was a keen photographer and loved gardening.
David leaves wife Christine, sons Darren, Adam and Ivan, daughter Suki, his grandchildren and elder brother Ralph.
His funeral will be on Thursday January 12 at 12pm at St Peter’s Church followed by a service at 1pm at Grenoside North Chapel. The cortege will come through Hoyland past the shop from St Peter’s en route to Grenoside Chapel.