Tributes to one of Market Harborough’s best-loved jewellers, Barrie Holliday

He and his wife set up their town centre jewellery shop on Coventry Road back in 1983 and built up many loyal customers before they retired in 2007

Monday, 25th October 2021, 10:01 am
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 10:02 am
Zillah Holliday has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

A woman who helped to run one of Market Harborough’s best-loved jewellers with her husband for almost 25 years has paid a heartfelt tribute to him.

Zillah Holliday, 75, has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

The devoted couple set up their town centre jewellery shop on Coventry Road back in 1983 and built up many loyal customers before they retired in 2007.

Zillah Holliday has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

Zillah told the Harborough Mail: “We met up and fell in love 59 years ago this month.

“We were married for 55 years after we were wed in 1966.

“As well as being husband and wife we were best friends for all of that time too,” said Zillah, who’s lived in Market Harborough for 36 years.

“And we got to know so many good people through our business over so many years that I decided I’d like to pay my own special tribute to Barrie in the Harborough Mail.”

Zillah Holliday has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

She said Barrie left school in his hometown Northampton at just 14 to join the high-profile Adnitt Brothers department store – which was later bought out by high street giant Debenhams.

“Barrie did a six-year apprenticeship and worked there for 12 years altogether.

“He worked diligently in a range of different departments and did really well before moving to join Michael Jones Jewellers in Northampton,” said Zillah, who has a daughter Andrea, 53, son Adrian, 51, and three grandchildren.

“Barrie worked his way up to becoming a manager there and became an expert on jewellery, silver and clocks especially.

Zillah Holliday has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

“We then decided that we’d like to branch out on our own and open our own shop.

“So we opened our jewellers on Coventry Road in Market Harborough in 1983 and never looked back.

“We didn’t have a lot of money in those days so we worked very hard and built our business up into a really successful venture,” said Zillah, who said Barrie was a choirboy at Northampton’s Abington Church and a scout patrol leader.

“It was lovely because we got to know so many customers from Market Harborough and across the entire district.

Zillah Holliday has saluted her lifelong sweetheart Barrie days after he passed away in Market Harborough on Wednesday October 13 just weeks after his 79th birthday.

“Some of the men would often pop in just for a chat with us while their wives went shopping in town!

“Barrie was also totally committed to the town and the community – we both loved it here.

“He did a lot of work as a Rotarian, giving speeches to our local WIs and so many other groups, as well as sitting on the planning committee of the town’s Chamber of Trade.

“He also cared deeply about local political and environmental issues such as flooding and new houses being built on floodplains.

“But very sadly Barrie was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2010.

“It was so cruel because we both liked to travel and there were so many things we’d have liked to have done after retiring,” said Zillah, who said their old shop is now run by popular jeweller Tim Thornton.

“I nursed Barrie for years.

“But we had to move him into The Willows nursing home on Coventry Road last year.

“Barrie had a great sense of humour and loved engaging with people, he was such an easy person to warm to and to like.

“He got along so well with the staff at The Willows.

“But it was hard for me because it was so difficult to visit him during the coronavirus lockdowns.

“I was at his bedside along with our daughter Andrea when he died.

“It was very emotional for us both, of course.

“But it was also a blessing, a huge release for me after all Barrie had been through over the last few years,” said Zillah, who added that Barrie was a keen gardener.

“We met when I was temporarily working at the old Embassy Jazz club in Northampton, I was just 16 at the time and from Coventry.

“We quickly fell in love with each other – and we spent the rest of our lives together.

“Barrie was totally devoted to me and he was devoted to our family.

“I couldn’t have married a better man and I couldn’t have been happier,” said Zillah.

“We had become members of the Dementia Harborough charity, which does such brilliant work supporting people living with dementia and their families in this area.

“And I would appeal to anyone who would like to mark Barrie’s passing to make a donation to Dementia Harborough to help support a group that Market Harborough can be genuinely proud of.”

You can find out much more about Dementia Harborough and get in touch with the organisation by visiting their website here: https://www.dementiaharborough.org