Much-loved baker Tony Cavan, owner of the Cavan Bakery in Hampton, Hampton Hill, Teddington and Molesey, has died, aged 77.
The Cavan Bakery was founded by his own father, David Cavan, in 1929 but with the premature death of David, his son Tony decided to forego his own career plans and trained at the National Bakery School to support his mother in running their family business.
Born in Twickenham in 1935, Tony moved to 12 High Street, Hampton Hill in 1938 when his father purchased the bakery there. He attended Denmead School until 1946 and then Hampton Grammar School until 1951.
ony was a keen Scout and in 1951 attended the World Jamboree in Austria.
In 1955, Tony qualified as a master baker from the National Bakery School and that is where he met his future wife Penny Shell, herself from a baking family of great renown.
Together they successfully ran the family business for more than 50 years. It is now run by their son-in-law Jeff Greenall and their daughter Sarah.
As well as managing the Cavan Bakery, Tony found time to work for the wider baking industry either through his work as Regional and then National President of the Association of Master Bakers, as the Association’s treasurer for four years, or as chairman of its Benevolent Fund.
He was also chairman of the association’s Parliamentary committee for 10 years, providing advice and expertise to Government departments and ministers.
In 2002 he received the prestigious accolade of becoming the Master of the Worshipful Company of Bakers. Also in that year, he was awarded the British Baker Special Award in recognition of his service to the industry.
Outside of the baking world Tony whole-heartedly supported the local community and has done a tremendous amount for it.
He co-founded the Hampton Hill Traders’ Association more than 45 years ago; he ran a scout group at Denmead School, Hampton; he was on the board, and later chaired the governors of Denmead School, indeed he led a campaign and saved the school from closure; he was heavily involved as a trustee of the Hampton Fuel Allotment Charity and was responsible for securing the highest possible income for the charity when the St Clares nursery site was sold to Sainsbury’s; he was a Richmond magistrate for many years and through that became chairman of the Richmond Victim Support Group; he was a trustee of Linden Hall.
He has always been very involved with St Mary’s Church, even at an early age as a choirboy and in more recent years as a server.
In retirement he became a Wandsman at St Paul’s Cathedral and also a volunteer at Hampton Court Palace.#
He was a volunteer driver for the Greenwood Centre for many years and has cycled with the disabled with Companion Cycling in Bushy Park and was later its treasurer.
Always a lover of flowers, he has tended the flowers in St Mary’s churchyard and also the wall garden at the Cavan Bakery shop in Hampton Hill High Street.
Daughter Sarah said: “To celebrate the company’s 60th birthday in 1989, he paid for 2,000 daffodils, 4,000 crocuses and some beautiful spring blossoming trees to be planted on the small green at the junction of Gloucester Road and Wensleydale Road in Hampton which all come into bloom every spring - a lovely way to be remembered.
“Tony was always thinking of how he could help others and putting others before himself. He was modest, humble and always made himself available for help or advice. He was never critical and was always encouraging, supportive and very proud. A true gentleman remembered by so many by his trademark button hole rose.”
Although always fit and active, Tony’s recently diagnosed leukaemia took a turn for the worst at the end of last year and it was discovered he had a rare variant that was both untreatable and terminal.
He was admitted to the Royal Marsden on Christmas Eve where he was cared for until his death on Tuesday, January 8.
He will be greatly missed by Penny, his three children David, Jonathan and Sarah, his brothers, grandchildren and all his family and many friends.
A thanksgiving service for Tony's life will be held on Tuesday, January 22, at 2.30pm at St Mary’s Church, Hampton.
Donations to The Royal Marsden Hospital, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT or care of GS Keates (funeral directors), 49 High Street, Hampton Hill, Middlesex TW12 1NH.