The owner and founder of Devon-based Abbotts DIY, Tony Abbott, has passed away following a short illness.
His family posted the following announcement on the home page of the business' website: "With huge regret and sadness, the Abbott family wish to inform you of the passing of this business' owner and founder, Tony Abbott after a short illness.
"Tony showed huge courage throughout his illness, and although he was bed bound towards the end he always remained positive and had a big smile on his face."
Abbotts DIY first opened its doors in 1979 in Ottery St Mary, when father and son team Alec and Tony Abbott converted the front room of their family home into an electrical, cables and batteries shop. This was operated with the help of Tony's mother Betty, and it wasn't long before the business changed from small electricals into general DIY. Since then Abbotts has continued to grow, with Betty's original store now a DIY, hardware and kitchen enterprise occupying a former carpet warehouse next door, a property across the road, a timber store out back and a second store in neighbouring town Seaton.
As well as sitting on the chamber of commerce and town council in Ottery St Mary, Mr Abbott was also a member of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira).
Last year the Abbott family was delighted to beat off stiff competition to be named gold winners of the Hardware Retailer of the Year Award at the 2011 DIY Week Awards
Tony Abbott's funeral will take place on Friday, August 3 at St Mary's Parish Church, Ottery St Mary, followed by a wake at Greyhound Hotel, Fenny Bridges. The Abbott family added: "We would like to thank everyone for all their kind words and support, during these difficult times, it has been a great comfort and support to us."