Town ‘won’t be the same’ as Morgan Westley founder dies ahead of shop’s final week

PUBLISHED: 16:19 28 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 28 January 2019

Matt and Rosemary Westley.  Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Matt and Rosemary Westley. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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A ‘formidable and much-admired’ woman who founded one of Portishead’s most prominent businesses has died.

Rosemary Westley, who created Morgan Westley five decades ago, died in her sleep aged 73 on Sunday.

Rosemary had been battling a long-term illness and passed away just days before the shop is due to shut its doors for the final time.

The news of her death was met with a flood of tributes on social media, and her daughter believes Rosemary was ‘proud’ of the business she built with her ‘devastated’ husband Matt.

Morgan Westley, in High Street, has become a pillar of Portishead’s community over the years, serving as a one-stop shop stocking a wide range of items.

It was particularly renowned for selling tickets for community events.

The Times revealed in October the business was set to close as the couple planned to retire amid Rosemary’s poor health and a struggling retail market.

A huge response from the town followed as hundreds thanked Rosemary and Matt for their years of hard work.

Rosemary’s daughter Alice Hosking told the times ‘Portishead won’t be the same without her’.

She said: “She had been ill for quite some time, but the end was very quick and peaceful – she passed away in her sleep and she always said that is how she wanted to go.

“Obviously it’s a real loss to us and to Portishead. She was a formidable woman who was much admired.”

Rosemary – whose full name was Rosemary Helen Morgan Westley, hence the business’ moniker – founded the stationery business in 1966, and Matt joined the business later on.

The business moved to the High Street in 1985, but it will cease trading at the end of the week.

Alice added: “I think she was proud of the business. She started the company and dad joined her. One day we were in the shop and she described it as her baby.

“Mum and dad were a very good team. They worked well together. As they say, behind every great man there’s an even greater woman.

“They were fond and proud of what they have done.

“Dad is in work for the final week and he’s devastated. She was the love of his life.”

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