Taken from The Stroud News & Journal

Tributes have been paid to a “legendary” Stroud shopkeeper who served the people of the town day in, day out for decades.

Much-loved Peter of Bateman’s Sports shop passed away last week at the age of 79 following a short illness. He would have turned 80 in December.

An upright and youthful looking man, he even chopped and logged an 80ft fir tree down just eight weeks before his death.

His son, Andrew has led the heartfelt tributes, he said: “He was a giant man and Stroud was his heart. Nobody was more proud of Stroud than him.”

The business was founded in Gloucester Street by his great-grandfather in 1893. Peter was the third generation to run Bateman’s Sports shop and he still came in to work at the Kendrick Street store, where he worked alongside his son Andrew, daughter Emma Rosewell, shop manager Kev Smith and staff.

Peter grew up in Rodborough, he attended Wycliffe in Stonehouse before his National Service in the RAF in Louth, Lincolnshire.

Peter took over the business in 1961 after his father, Bill had died suddenly at just 53.

His love of Stroud saw him serve on the Stroud Town Council. He was instrumental in helping drive the development of the bypass, and as president of Stroud Chamber of Trade he cut the ribbon on the Dr Newton’s Way bypass when it opened in 1986.

Peter was a talented sporting all-rounder. He played rugby for Stroud and the RAF and as a talented batsman for Slad Exiles CC alongside ex-Derby County and Wales professional footballer Rod Thomas. He also played for the Gloucestershire Gypsies.

Married to Sally for 53 years, they had children Andrew, Emma and Suzie, six grandchildren and a great-grandson.

Peter Withey from Stroud office suppliers James and Owen Ltd, fondly remembered Peter as the father figure of retailing in Stroud.

He said: “Peter Bateman was the father figure of retailing in Stroud, leading one of Stroud’s cornerstone businesses for many years. He was also actively involved in the Chamber of Trade, spending much time and effort supporting it through many of the ups and downs the traders have faced over the years. Always there with helpful advice, given freely trying to help like-minded traders.

“I worked with him on the chamber and he always had sound ideas on who to talk to, how to apply pressure in the appropriate place, and how to improve the town for all, residents, visitors, and traders alike.

“Always cheerful, witty, and very much the gentleman. My thoughts are with Andy’s family, and the staff of Bateman’s.

Bateman’s shop manager, Kevin Smith spoke of Peter as a father figure and a friend, he said: “I’ve known Mr B for almost 20 years. He was a friend rather than a boss and I looked up to him as a father figure.

“I’m very proud to say I have got close to him over the years and he’s one of the nicest people I have come across – he had time for everyone.

“I think it’s a real shame that there aren’t more people like him. He was old school and a pure gent and Stroud will miss him massively. I’ve never met anyone with better sporting knowledge than him. He would talk for hours about football, racing, rugby athletics and so on. A true legend who will be sadly missed.”

Peter was an avid supporter and sponsor of his beloved Stroud RFC and president Russ Hillier said Peter will be sorely missed.

“A truly sad day for all sport lovers in general and Stroud in particular.

“Most of us have grown up with Bateman’s Sports as the main sports outfitter within in the town and Peter at the helm.

“Indeed, a true Stroud man who will be sorely missed as a leading Stroud businessman and a very good friend.”

Peter’s funeral, arranged by Michael Gamble Funeral Directors, will be held at noon on Wednesday, November 29, at St Mary’s Church, Painswick, followed by a private cremation.

Bateman’s Sports will be closed as a mark of respect, with the funeral cortege passing the shop at 11.10am.

Watch Andrew Bateman pay tribute to his father in the following video.


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