Husband’s tribute to Mousetrap businesswoman Kathy Bailey

Kathy Bailey
Kathy Bailey

A popular West Sussex businesswoman who set up a successful chain of fashion boutiques has died at the age of 71.

With her sister Pat, Kathy Bailey set up Mousetrap in Chichester (from 1973-1996), a business which also had stores in Portsmouth, Southsea, Reigate, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

In later life, Kathy, who lived in Arundel, also enjoyed considerable success as an artist.

Her husband David confirmed: “She had pancreatic cancer which had spread to her lung.

“She was diagnosed in January 2014, and the estimate of time was three to five months.

“But some very, very dear Irish friends of ours had invested in an immune therapy research programme, and they managed to put Kathy into it.

“She had immune therapy treatment, and plus the chemotherapy, it gave us another 18 months more than we might have had.”

As David suggests, it will be for the fashion boutique Mousetrap she will be best remembered.

“When I was registering the death in Chichester, the lady that was dealing with us told us she used to go to Mousetrap when she was at the High School,” he said.

“The first shop was the last shop before the one-way system in South Street. Anita Roddick opened the Body Shop next door.”

Kathy had started her artistic career as a dancer and then spent most of her life fulfilling her creative impulses with her shops.

She then turned her eye for style and design to the brush and palette.

After becoming a resident in Arundel, the desire to paint was overwhelming and so a new artist was born.

“I will remember her peace,” David said. “People were peaceful around her.

“She could deal with dustbin men, lords, princes, everyone, and she was always the same. There was no difference in her. She had no airs or graces. She was always very, very charitable and caring.

“When I first met her, she was a dancer. She travelled to Italy when she was 16-17 years old. Kathy came from Peckham in London, Delboy’s territory, the same as myself.

“I met Kathy when she was 26 and a dancer in Butlins in Bognor. That would have been 1969. We lived together for 18 years until we married in 1988.”

David is step-dad to her children Kim, born in 1963 and Paul, born in 1965.

In her final illness, St Wilfrid’s were “unbelievably brilliant until the very last: they were there when she passed away at home.”

As an artist, Kathy specialised in female nudes and abstracts: “She was very varied and versatile as a painter. She sold more than a hundred paintings.”

Daughter Kim described her as a super popular woman who touched many, many people in a very special way. Her death had prompted an overwhelming outpouring of love and kind words from so many friends.

The funeral will be on Wednesday, December 9 in Arundel Cathedral at 12pm, with a reception afterwards in the Cathedral Centre. Donations to St Wilfrid’s hospice.

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