Family of Diss shopkeeper Vijay Patel thank community as tributes continue

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The family of a loved and respected Diss shopkeeper have thanked their local community as tributes continue to pour in.

Vijay Patel, who owned and ran the Premier Patel Stores shop in Skelton Road with wife Mina, died on August 3, aged 54.

Born in Uganda, and after spending time in Kenya and India, he arrived in London as an eleven-year-old, and left school at 16.

He began working in his parent’s newsagents shop in Hackney, and in 1989, Vijay purchased the store in Skelton Road.

Mrs Patel said Vijay hoped to retire in a couple of years, sell the business, tour Britain in a caravan, and visit countries around the world.

“That is what he was always telling me, ‘when I retire I will take you everywhere’,” she said.

Mrs Patel, who married Vijay in 1983, added: “People come (to the store) with tears in their eyes. People don’t want to believe it. Some people don’t want to talk about it - they just see me and hug me. You can tell that they want to say lots of things, but they don’t have the right words.”

Between 200 and 300 attended the funeral service at the West Suffolk Crematorium in Risby on Saturday to pay respects to a man described as a “fantastic role model” by daughter Nisha.

She said in his free time he enjoyed catching up with his family and trips to the seaside.

“When he had time off he would try and arrange family stuff. We all loved getting together with our family and going down to London,” she said.

She added: “A big thank you to all the customers, friends, family and staff for all the cards, flowers and messages.”

On Monday, customers were thanked for their support, with staff providing refreshments at the store.

Pay your tributes to Mr Patel on his memorial website,