The life of Sydney Garson, former MD of Rowntree's store and a much respected figure in Scarborough

Sydney Garson, who has died aged 93, received an MBE in 2004 for his service with Scarborough Sea Cadets and other voluntary efforts.

By Sarah Fitton
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:38 pm
Sydney Garson presents The Stephenson Trophy to Scarborough Sea Cadets Ian Pennock (left) and Rachel Brown, in 2003.
Sydney Garson presents The Stephenson Trophy to Scarborough Sea Cadets Ian Pennock (left) and Rachel Brown, in 2003.

Mr Garson was born in Sydney, Australia, on March 31, 1927, and had a twin sister - Rosemary.

His parents had moved there from England a few years before. The family returned to Britain to live in Hull when Mr Garson was four, meaning he had dual nationality - something he was very proud of.

The family later moved to Liverpool where Mr Garson joined the sea cadets and then, in 1944, the Royal Navy.

Sydney Garson and his wife Valerie pictured in 2005.

He trained as a naval photographer, serving mainly on aircraft carriers which is where he met aircraft mechanic Andy Finn who became his best and life-long friend.

Mr Garson left the Navy soon after World War II and - like his father who was Managing Director at department store TJ Hughes - began a career in retail.

He initially worked as a buyer, travelling all over the world for his job.

In 1949, while working in Coventry, he joined an amateur dramatics group and it was there that he met and fell in love with Valerie Chadburn.

The couple married in 1952 and went on to have four children - Heather, Simon, Ruth and Penny.

They moved to Scarborough in 1971 when Mr Garson became Managing Director of Rowntree’s Department Store in Scarborough, which later became Debenhams.

The couple adored the area and bought their dream home in Hutton Buscel.

At 57, when his bosses asked him to move to a different area, Mr Garson decided instead to stay in Scarborough and retire, and threw himself further into voluntary work in the area.

"Receiving the MBE was his proudest moment, I think,” said daughter Ruth.

He was a devoted father and cherished grandfather and great grandfather.

Mr Garson’s funeral will take place at St Matthew’s Church, Hutton Buscel, on Thursday July 16 at noon and will be limited to immediate family. A celebration of his life will be conducted at a later date.

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