DEVIZES stalwart Tony Duck, who was born at Ivy House in the town to a family that owned the Ducks newsagents in Maryport Street, died aged 82 in the Royal United Hospital, Bath in Saturday.

Mr Duck, who went on to be a member of the old Devizes Borough Council, the town council and Kennet District Council and was founder member of the Devizes Guardians, had been ill since October.

Mr Duck, had been the latest in the long line of family members to have owned the popular newsagents retired from the shop aged 74 in 2010.

Originally established by Francis Holland as a tobacconist and newsagent with gentlemen’s hairdressing “saloon” in 1901, it was acquired by Mr Duck’s aunt, Beatrice Chaplin (nee Duck) in 1927.

Frank Duck, who had managed the shop on his sister’s behalf, bought it from her in 1936. His son, Tony, went to work at the shop on leaving Devizes Grammar school in 1953 and eventually took it over in 1970.

On his retirement Mr Duck said: “The customers are all friendly and I have always enjoyed working in the shop.

“Over the years we have had to make a variety of changes in what we sell. We have sold typewriters and calculators. We used to sell a huge amount of books in the 1950s and 60s.”

He was a leading member of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, The Trust for Devizes, the Devizes Chamber of Commerce and the Tornio Twinning Assocation.

The shop originally traded at 17 Maryport Street, long remembered as Duck’s Corner, until it was demolished in the 1950s as part of the redevelopment of Sheep Street. It moved to its current site in Maryport Street in 1958.

Mr Duck was a Conservative councillor for 29 years for the East ward of Devizes. He served on the original Devizes Borough Council, had a short spell on the town council and went on to become a Kennet councillor until 1987.

In 2001 he became a founder member of the Guardians after Kennet went against the views of people and felled the plane trees around the fountain.

He said at the time: "It isn't related solely to the trees in the Market Place but the changes to the Market Place. People didn't like what happened but nobody bothered to tell them why it happened.

"Some things have to change and people have to be persuaded that it is for the best and that has not happened in Devizes."

Mr Duck married his former journalist wife Elizabeth in 1959 in her home town of Christchurch in Dorset. They first had contact with each other when a colleague told her that Tony had died in a car accident. She rang the family and thought she was speaking to his father but was quickly informed by Tony that he was still very much alive.

The couple originally lived above the newsagents but moved to Worton in the 1970s. They had four children Sarah, Jeremy, Katie and Jason and three grandchildren Emily, Holly and Phoebe.

Mrs Duck this week described her husband as a kind and caring man who did much for other people but did not want recognition for his deeds.

He had a love of classical music, literature, history and heritage.

A funeral date is yet to be set but the service will be held at West Wilts Crematorium. All inquiries to Charles S Winchcombe and Son on 01380 722500.