Tribute paid to Warwick's very own 'Willy Wonka'

Tributes have been paid to Warwick’s very own ‘Willy Wonka’.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 11:09 am
Nigel inside the Mary's Sweet Memories in Warwick. Photo supplied.

Nigel Ackroyd, who ran traditional sweet shop Mary’s Sweet Memories in Market Place, died on May 31 aged 56.

Nigel, who lived in Burbage, Leicestershire, with his wife Mary, was a big character in Warwick and ran the sweet shop for seven years.

He took a step back from the shop when his health deteriorated towards the end of 2018. In February Nigel was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.

Nigel inside the Mary's Sweet Memories in Warwick. Photo supplied.

Mary said: “He initially worked for Ansell’s Brewery but spent most of his career in radio. He worked with BRMB, Galaxy, Smooth and he also helped set up Heart FM.

"It was because of radio that he was known by so many people and we have seen so many messages from people in the radio world saying that Nigel helped them when they started their careers.

“We then went on to open a sweet shop in Hinckley, which we ran for eight years and then after the first year we set up the one in Warwick. We loved it because it is in a beautiful old building and the town itself lends itself perfectly to a sweet shop.

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Nigel outside Mary's Sweet Memories in Warwick. Photo supplied.

“We could never replace Nigel as he had such a passion for it and he loved it and people coming into the shop loved him. There was never a miserable face.

“He was involved with the community with things such as supporting events at Warwick Racecourse and he always made sure the shop was open if something was going on in the town as it was important to him to support the town.”

Nigel and Mary have five grown-up children from previous relationships and married in September 2018 where Nigel donned a Willy Wonka- style outfit.

Mary said: “He was the love of my life and he completely stole the show on our wedding day. His hat and cane from the day will be on top of the coffin and Gene Wilder’s Pure Imagination will also be played.

Mary and Nigel on their wedding day. Photos supplied.

“We would like to thank the nurses and carers as they were fantastic and all of our customers, many of whom have become friends over the years, for all their support and messages.

"We also want to thank Val, Billy, Peter and Suzanne at the shop who have been brilliant and supportive. The sweet shop will continue on.”

Over the years the sweet shop has attracted attention.

In 2017 Nigel and the shop attracted national attention with the ‘sweetometer’ poll for the general election.

“We also had Channel 4 get in touch to film at the shop for a piece on Cadbury – Nigel would have loved that.”

Nigel’s funeral will be held at St Catherine’s Church, Burbage, on June 22 at 9.15am.

A wake will be held at the Lime Kilns Inn, Burbage. Family flowers only but donation are welcome for FC Burbage under-10s football team.