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Loving tributes to former chair of Ottery Chamber of Commerce Viv Abbott, who ‘worked tirelessly for town’

PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:37 13 August 2017

Vivienne Abbott.

Vivienne Abbott.

Archant

The family of businesswoman Vivienne Abbott have remembered a mum, grandmother and ‘people’s person’.

Loving tributes have been paid to a mum, grandmother and businesswoman ‘who worked tirelessly for the good of Ottery’.

Vivienne Abbott, 63, was well-known for running Abbotts DIY with her sons Chris and Jeff and served the town’s chamber of commerce for many years as its chairman.

She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer before Christmas and spent her last months making every day count with the family that was ‘everything’ to her.

Viv died peacefully at home - in her favourite chair - last Friday, August 4.

“She worked tirelessly for the good of the town,” said Jeff. “I am incredibly proud of what she and others achieved on the chamber of commerce.” Highlights included the Ottery Card, becoming one of the first towns to have a loyalty bag, negotiating free parking with Sainsbury’s, and organising the late-night shopping event. Viv also provided the town with its first-ever Christmas lights.

Many of her achievements were accomplished with husband Tony, who died from a brain in tumour 2012.

Ottery Chamber of Commerce was disbanded when Viv had to step down due to ill health earlier this year.

Abbotts won the prestigious title of UK Hardware retailer of the year in 2016 – a ‘really special’ moment.

“That was the pinnacle of what the three of us had achieved with the business together,” said Chris.

“It is very hard for me to think that, not so long ago, Jeff and I were working in the shop with both of our grandparents, our dad Tony, and our dear mum Vivienne.

“Now it’s just me and Jeff. But we have both had the best apprenticeship with that level of experience - and our best tribute to our parents is to carry on their hard work. They are very, very big shoes to try to fill.

“Mum was fully aware of and excited by our future plans to grow the business. Even though she retired this year, she very much had her finger on the pulse to the very end.

“She loved meeting and talking to customers. That is what she enjoyed most about working in the shop. She was a real people person.”

Viv was this year due to become the national president of the British Independent Retailer Association, having served as its vice-president, but had to step down due to her deteriorating health.

‘Family was everything’ to Viv – mum to Chris, Jeff and daughter Marie. She adored her two grandchildren, William and Amelia.

“In her later months she would just watch them play and have fun - taking every last memory of them,” said Chris.

“We are an extremely close family, at work, and at home. Losing both parents within five years at a relatively young age is very hard for us.

“Mum was feeling unwell in September last year and was getting worse as the year went on. She really struggled to do the late-night shopping event last year. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just before Christmas and knew that the odds were very much against her. But she took the treatment, so she could spend just a little more time with the family she loved. She also made every day count, and went out with family every day up until her death.

“She fell asleep in her chair at home on Friday night (August 4) and peacefully passed away.”

The family has thanked everyone for the lovely comments, messages and cards they have received, saying they have been a ‘massive comfort’.

Vivienne’s funeral will take place at Ottery Parish Church on Friday, August 18, at 2pm.

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