A SERVICE of celebration and thanksgiving for the life of Robin Elt is to be held in Worcester Cathedral on Monday, July 15 at noon.

Until he died in May at the age of 73, Mr Elt was head of one of the area’s oldest family businesses. Together with his daughter Jenny, he ran Robin Elt Shoes, which has eight branches across Worcestershire,

Herefordshire and Shropshire and down to Torquay and Totnes in Devon.

The pair were the fourth and fifth generation of Elts to run a retail footwear business, which will now continue with Jenny at the helm.

Mr Elt’s wife Diana said: “

Robin was a multi-faceted, caring and generous ‘larger than life’ character with wide-ranging interests.  Immersed in the shoe trade, he was a devoted father and grandfather who loved music from Sibelius to Queen, a passionate

dinghy sailor and an advocate of natural medicine. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him and we would love to  see his many old friends and acquaintances at the Cathedral service. Jenny will now take charge of Robin Elt Shoes and she has

certainly learned from the master.”

The Elt’s shoe business can trace its roots back to a  small shop selling “Goode Boots for Ladyes and Gentlemen”, which was opened in The Shambles, Worcester in 1824 by William Webly. In 1872 the

business was purchased by Albert Edward Elt and his wife Eliza, who began its  steady growth by purchasing the next door property, a public house called the Market Tavern.

This led to the creation of one of the most  recognisable shop frontages in The Shambles, with Elts standing opposite Thee Shambles Market Hall. At the end of the 1960s, Roy Elt, Robin’s father,

merged the business with Church Group’s retail division – which operated in Worcester in the former Elts shop as Jones Bootmaker - and Robin went on to become branded buying director for the whole group.

In 1991 he took back the Elt shops in Malvern and Leominster to resume independent retailing and since then Robin Elt Shoes has gone from strength to strength.

In last year’s national Footwear Industry Awards it was shortlisted in five categories and Jenny Elt attended the event in Birmingham’s National Conference Centre to collect the Men’s Independent

Footwear Retailer of the Year award. The company had previously won outdoor retailer of the year and best independent retailer of the year, making it one of the most successful independent footwear retailers in the country.

Mr Elt lived in Church Street, Malvern and died in  in Worcestershire Royal Hospital after being diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago.