Furniture retailer TR Hayes has announced the passing of Derek Hayes, the driving force behind the business for 70 years, following a long battle with cancer.
"His business acumen, energy and passion saw him grow his family business into the largest furniture store in the region, employing over 50 staff, and with almost 50,000 sqft of furniture showrooms," states the retailer.
Derek left school at 15 to help in the store and eventually took over the business in 1965. Seeing its potential, he gradually expanded into the surrounding properties, including the site across the road opposite the main store (now the contemporary showroom). He also redeveloped the derelict area behind the main store, creating much-needed office space.
The local Bath community was also important to Derek – he was a key figure in helping The Paragon School relocate to its current site, and he became a patron of both The Paragon and Prior Park College.
"Although community and history, and in particular military history, were important to Derek, it was his business and the furniture industry that he really loved – even when he was on holiday he would always make a point of visiting any local furniture stores, and get to know the people there," states the retailer.
"Derek was very proud to have been a founder member of the Minerva Furniture Group, which helped to give a voice to many of the smaller furniture stores in the country, and he has always been hugely respected in the industry."
On a Just Giving page set up to raise funds for local hospice Dorothy House in Derek's memory, his son Richard, CEO of the retail business, adds: "His courage and determination throughout his illness was remarkable – until quite recently he was still coming into the store and taking an active part in the day-to-day life running the store.
"He was quite rightly hugely proud of all that he achieved in the 70 years he devoted to his furniture business TR Hayes in Bath, and was much respected in the local community as well as in the furniture industry. He will be greatly missed."
Derek's funeral will take place at St Swithun’s Church, Church Street, Bathford, Bath BA1 7RS on Friday 5th August at 1pm.