Wife pays tribute to popular Scarborough butcher, Doug Spence

Doug Spence, right, with his son Len celebrating the 50th anniversary of his Scarborough shop, Spence Butchers, in 2011. Popular Mr Spence died last month, aged 81.
Doug Spence, right, with his son Len celebrating the 50th anniversary of his Scarborough shop, Spence Butchers, in 2011. Popular Mr Spence died last month, aged 81.

The wife of a popular Scarborough butcher who ran a business in the town for more than 50 years has paid tribute to her husband who “had a smile for everyone”.

Doug Spence, who owned Spence Butchers in Dean Road, died peacefully at his home last month, aged 81, just short of his 57th wedding anniversary.

More than 200 people attended his funeral at St Columba Church last week, which his wife Kath described as “overwhelming”.

She said: “He was very well-loved, more so than we ever realised. We have had over 120 cards with so many nice messages in, he would have been as surprised as I was that so many people though so much about him.

“He was a man who was there for his work and his family and he had a smile for everyone.

“I miss his smile and his wave. He loved talking to the customers and they will miss him too.”

Mr Spence was born in Bedale, North Yorkshire, in 1931.

He moved to Scarborough in 1938, aged seven, where he attended Burniston School. He later enrolled as one of the first pupils at Scalby School, when it opened in 1942.

When he left school, he worked as a projectionist at the Futurist theatre for around three years, before leaving to become a farmer at Flatts Farm in Burniston, where he lived and worked for 46 years.

Mr Spence met Kath at a dance at the Scarborough Spa and married at St Mary’s Church, Cloughton, in 1957. The pair went on to have four children, Pauline, Linda, Carole and Len.

Spence Butchers was set up in 1961 after the couple decided to open their own shop to sell their produce.

Mrs Spence said: “It was his hobby, as well as his job. He didn’t have hobbies, as that was all he lived for. He absolutely loved it. He would work from dawn until dusk and was dedicated to the shop.”

The Spences ran the shop and the farm in conjunction until 2005, when they had to let go of the farm, which is now the Hare’s Leap shop, cafe and restaurant.

The business also included a bakery up until six years ago.

However, the shop is still going strong, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr Spence. He continued to work full-time right up until his death, even returning to the shop after a triple heart bypass in 2011 when the butchers celebrated its 50th anniversary.

His son Len, who joined the business eight years ago, is now planning to continue in his father’s footsteps.

Mrs Spence said: “Len is hoping to keep running the business if the customers will carry on supporting him, which I’m sure they will.”

More than £700 was donated to the British Heart Foundation in memory of Douglas Leonard Spence at his funeral last Monday.

Further donations to the charity can be made at Spence Butchers.