WHEN West Street in Fareham was known as the Golden Mile, there was one shop at which customers could rely on for all their grocery needs.
Long before the arrival of the McColl’s, EJ Woods was serving up cheese, ale, meats, and even frozen food.
The man at the helm of that shop was Edwin James Woods, who ran the shop from 1939 until 1969.
Born in Portsmouth in 1916, Edwin’s family moved to Gordon Road, Fareham, when he was five years old.
Edwin went to Fareham CofE Boys Primary and Senior School, and was often rewarded for being top boy.
When he left school, after a time served in the army, he became an errand boy for the Johns family in West Street.
He did an accountancy course at night school before finally buying the shop and taking over from the Johns in his 20s.
He met wife Georgina in the park and they married on March 2, 1941 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Fareham. A passionate sporting man, Edwin loved to play cricket and football, even playing Wednesday club football with Fareham as a junior. Edwin and Georgina moved to Miller Drive where they had only daughter Joy in 1952.
When Georgina became ill and died in 1967, aged just 47, Edwin felt that a break was needed from the shop.
The shop at 113 West Street closed in 1969.
Edwin kept busy with the Round Table.
He was one of the founding members and was president of the club for a time.
Remaining at the family home in Miller Drive, daughter Joy married Alan, and Edwin became a grandfather to Adam and Julia.
Tributes have been paid to Edwin by former employees, who remember happy times working with him in the shop.
Gwen Avern, from Napier Crescent, worked there for 10 years. She said: ‘He was a lovely man, he was like a second father to me. He couldn’t do enough for anybody.’
Joy said: ‘He was a lovely man and devoted to everybody he knew. When I married Alan in 1979, they became great friends. He was marvellous with dad.’
Edwin Woods, born May 22, 1916, died June 6, 2013