GLYN ALLEN, who helped to revive Littlehampton’s popular Town Show, has died aged 90, just hours after he was re-elected as chairman of the committee running the annual event.
He had led the committee since the horticultural show started up again in 1992 after a break of many years, and had also been chairman of Littlehampton Allotments and Leisure Gardens Association from the late 1980s.
His financial and organisational acumen, cultivated in almost four decades working for the Co-op, were put to good use in Mr Allen’s retirement, making sure the shop at the Worthing Road allotments was well-stocked, working out the prices to cover costs and keeping meticulous records for seed orders and other supplies.
Mr Allen, of Parkside Avenue, Littlehampton, celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday, December 1, with a family party at the Norfolk Arms Hotel in Arundel, the day before. On the Tuesday evening, he was re-elected Town Show chairman and the following morning was in Littlehampton town centre with his wife, Doris, when he collapsed. He was taken to Worthing Hospital, where he died later that day.
Born in Ferndale, in the Rhondda Valley, in south Wales, his full name was Glyndwr, after the last Welsh-born Prince of Wales. His mother was Welsh and went home to have her baby there. They returned to Salisbury, where Mr Allen spent his early years, before the family moved firstly to Bognor for a short time, then to Littlehampton.
He left school at 14 to become an apprentice grocer at the International Stores in High Street, Littlehampton, before being called up by the Royal Navy in the Second World War. His service included time in Australia and later, on the aircraft carrier Glory, which took Allied prisoners-of-war home from Japan at the end of the war. He also witnessed the devastation in Hiroshima after the nuclear bomb.
In peacetime, Mr Allen returned to the grocery trade with the Co-op, rising from an assistant at the store in High Street, Littlehampton, to become its under-manager, then taking over as manager of the Durrington branch. From there, he moved to the Co-op department store in Montague Street, Worthing, as manager of the food business, before being appointed manager of the whole store. He retired a couple of years early in 1987, when the Co-op closed in readiness for its move to a new site in Newland Street.
Retirement gave him more time to spend in his garden and allotment and with his family – he and Doris had two daughters, Christine and Carolle, two sons, Nigel and Andrew, and nine grandchildren. He is also survived by one of his three brothers, Christopher.
The couple married in 1948, at first living with Mrs Allen’s parents. Her father was the signalman at the Lyminster signal box beside the level crossing and their home was a bungalow converted from the waiting room of the old railway station. A little way down the track was a piece of land on which Mr Allen and his father-in-law grew vegetables.
They had their first garden, and Mr Allen his first allotment, on moving to Hill Road. When that plot was built on, he took over one at Worthing Road, where he continued growing crops, with family help, up to this year.
“He was a real family man and he loved his garden,” said Mrs Allen, 87.
The funeral is at Worthing Crematorium today (Monday, December 22).