Tributes paid to ‘a gem of a man’

Austen Chamberlain Obit copy
Austen Chamberlain Obit copy
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A much loved and respected Scarborough jeweller, community stalwart and family man has died at the age of 89.

Austen Chamberlain, of South Cliff, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family last Thursday.

Austen Chamberlain Obit copy

Austen Chamberlain Obit copy

Originally from Edinburgh, Mr Chamberlain spent five years serving on Destroyers in the Navy, surviving a torpedo attack in the Bay of Biscay on Christmas Eve 1941.

He served all over the world as a chief petty officer and came home in 1946, going on to study gemology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Mr Chamberlain became a member of the Gemmological Association and worked at a jewellers shop in the city.

In May 1946 he met his future wife Shelagh, who was in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Services, and they married on Burns Day - January 25 - 1947.

Their move to Scarborough was something of a twist of fate, as Shelagh explained. She said: “Austen saw an ad in The Scotsman for a manager’s job in a holiday resort on the north east coast.

“He thought it was the north east coast of Scotland! We had to look up where Scarborough was.”

Mr Chamberlain came down for an interview at Rusbridge jewellers in Huntriss Row and was offered the job on the spot.

The couple moved to Scarborough and their daughter Susan was born in 1953. Their granddaughter Hannah was born in 1980.

In 1964 Mr Chamberlain opened his own jewellers shop at the top of Huntriss Row, where Pizza Hut is now.

He retired at the age of 62, but after deciding that retirement didn’t suit him, he worked as a rep for a diamond company and took a part-time position at J.B. Marshall, which later became the Time Centre in Westborough.

His daughter Susan Cockill said: “It kept him young and he really enjoyed it. He was also very good at it and was well thought of.”

Shelagh added: “Other jewellers would sometimes come to him for advice. He was very knowledgeable.”

Finally retiring at the age of 80, Mr Chamberlain was able to devote more time to his many hobbies and interests.

He was a member of South Cliff Recreational Club and a past captain and honorary life member of South Cliff Golf Club.

Mr Chamberlain was also a past president of Scarborough Lions Club and twice president of the Scarborough Caledonian Society.

His wife said: “Despite all this he was still very unassuming.

“He just loved people and loved company.

“Everyone said what a gentleman he was.”

The pair were married for 65 years and were invited to Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen’s Golden Wedding celebrations.

As well as being successful in his business life and social circles, Mr Chamberlain was a dedicated husband, father and granddad.

His wife said: “He was always happy and very appreciative of everything, always seeing the best in people and never critical.

“He loved every minute of his life. He was a gentle man and loved by everyone.”

A funeral service will be held at St Andrew’s Church, Ramshill Road, on Friday November 16 at noon.