GLOUCESTER Cathedral was a fitting venue for the funeral of a popular city centre shopkeeper who lived in its shadow for more than 30 years.
Peggy Theaker, who died earlier this month, ran Mothercare in Westgate Street and had two shops of her own – Cards Galore opposite, and Fun and Games in Clarence Walk.
Affectionately known by her staff as "Mrs Theaker", she fiercely guarded her age to the extent that it was not published in her death notice nor the order of service for the funeral on January 15.
Granddaughter Rachael Lythgoe said she was equally at home dealing with customers and senior clergy at her College Green home.
"She had an amazing ability to get on with people from all walks of life," said Rachael, of Randwick, Stroud. "After a Sunday service at the Cathedral, she and my grandfather enjoyed inviting everyone round for a gin and tonic. In later years she started serving coffee at the Chapter House and continued that until last year."
Born in Sheffield, her parents died when she was in her teens. She and her sister Kath moved in with their grandparents but she left an unhappy period to go in to service.
Her first husband Alf died when their daughter Carole was three years old but she re-married and with Dennis Theaker they had a second daughter, Lynn. Eager to get miner Dennis away from the dangers of the pit, she followed her sister to Gloucester and a chance conversation led to them renting a home in College Green. She became involved with the Cathedral and befriended clergy including Eric Evans who went on to become the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral.
A mother-of-two, a grandmother of three and a great-grandmother of five, she chaired and was president of the city chamber of trade.