Sadness as sweet shop ‘legend’ dies

Ray King, who ran H&E King sweet shop in Albert  Road, has died aged 87
Ray King, who ran H&E King sweet shop in Albert Road, has died aged 87
The tea lights floating on Canoe Lake  Picture : Habibur Rahman (171663-072)

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a man who made everybody’s lives a little sweeter.

Ray King, who owned H&E King, a well-known sweet shop in Albert Road, Southsea, died on July 27, aged 87.

H&E King Sweet Shop in Albert Road Picture: Ian Hargreaves (161097-2)

H&E King Sweet Shop in Albert Road Picture: Ian Hargreaves (161097-2)

His family had owned the shop, formerly a newsagents, next to the Kings Theatre, for more than a century.

Mr King was a popular figure with shoppers, residents and traders along the eclectic shopping street – and he could often be heard recounting stories of Southsea during the war.

He only stopped serving in his traditional shop, which he used to open at odd hours for theatre-goers and late-night drinkers, at the end of last year when he became ill.

Mr King’s friends Clare and Bob Saunders had been helping with his shop and started to care for him after meeting at a car boot sale 11 years ago.

The inside of H&E King in Albert Road, Southsea

The inside of H&E King in Albert Road, Southsea

Bob, from Cosham, said: ‘He was an unusual man. He was like the dad I never had.’

Clare said: ‘He wanted to keep the shop open for his customers. He was a sweet, kind gentleman.’

Mr King suffered a stroke, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, then had a heart attack. He spent time at Oakland Grange Care Home in Southsea, before returning home to die – one of his final wishes.

Fellow Southsea traders also paid their respects.

Ian Parmiter, who has run Parmiter’s Antiques in Albert Road for 29 years, said: ‘He was a real character of Albert Road and he will be sadly missed. He had a story for everyone and time to talk to anyone. He was a legend.’

David Haviland, who runs Errand Jervis, which used to be Jervis & Sons – a printers that has been in Albert Road since 1970 – said: ‘He was a real character. He was always interesting.’

Mr King had no wife or children. His funeral will take place at Portchester Crematorium at 11.15am on Friday. A procession will leave from outside his shop at 10.15am. All are welcome.