Remembering the St Ives trader who lived by ‘good old fashioned values’

Cecil Whetstone, rear left, with staff at his shop in St Ives.

Cecil Whetstone, rear left, with staff at his shop in St Ives. - Credit: Archant

Friends and family have paid tribute to former St Ives trader Cecil Whetstone – who died on Remembrance Sunday aged 93 – who has been described as the “perfect gentleman”.

Cecil, who was well known in the farming community, will be remembered for his politeness, honesty and “good old fashioned values”. Always immaculately dressed, he could often be spotted tending his garden wearing a suit and tie and never left home without his sock garters.

Cecil was born in Somersham and spent his early years working at the bakery in the village, delivering bread on his bike, and buying and selling eggs from smallholders in the Fens. Asthma and flat feet prevented him from joining the army and serving in the Second World War and during this time he worked as a farm labourer.

He bought a farm shop from the Huckle family in St Ives in 1970 and ran C A Whetstone Farm and Garden Supplies in Station Road until he retired in 1997 at the age of 76.

He met his second wife Phyllis in 1982 and they married in 1985 and Phyllis came to work in the Whetstone business. Cecil was a family man who loved rolling around the floor playing with grandchildren and took great delight in showing them his garden. He took great pleasure from his garden and enjoyed keeping cats and budgies over the years.

Cecil loved country and western music and was a keen supporter of Peterborough United Football Club and in his early years he took up linesman duties at Somersham Football Club.

He and Phyllis supported the Salvation Army and enjoyed spending time at the Farcet branch when they moved to Stanground in 2002.

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Cecil was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007 at the age of 86 and the condition became progressively worse until his death at home on November 9. A church service, attended by almost 100 people, took place on November 26 at Farcet Salvation Army Hall. Donations were collected for two charities that were close to Cecil’s heart: the Alzheimer’s Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The service raised £571 and this was divided between the two charities.

He leaves his wife, Phyllis, daughter Kathleen, step-daughters Elizabeth, Julie and Dawn and five grandchildren.