A FORMER Stourport councillor and village supermarket owner has died, aged 92.

Jim Perry joined the family business after completing his two years' National Service in the Royal Navy, stationed in Singapore, between 1946 and 1948, and helped to open Worcestershire's first self-service grocery store in Lombard Street in the late 1950s.

The Perry family began serving Stourport in the 1930s, when Jim's father Len and mother Lily opened a butcher's shop in Mitton Street, before moving to Lombard Street.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Perry's Lombard Street store in 1950The Perry's Lombard Street store in 1950

Jim's brother Robin ran the butchery side of the business, while his mother Lily oversaw the making of meat pies, sausage rolls, pork pies and cooked meats to sell in the store.

In his younger days, Jim was a musician, forming a band which played at local dances.

Jim was also a keen rower and an avid member of Stourport Boat Club, where he competed for the town as well as coaching up-and-coming rowers in the late 1960s.

One such rower remembers Jim borrowing his daughter’s bicycle to race up and down the river bank shouting instructions to the team.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The Perry's Lombard Street store, a picture featured in The Shuttle, in 1970The Perry's Lombard Street store, a picture featured in The Shuttle, in 1970

Jim’s interest in the boat club continued throughout his life, from attending and photographing the annual regatta to serving as a trustee from the 1970s to the present day.

Jim married Val in May 1952 at Areley Kings Church and left the church through an arch of oars held by his rowing club teammates.

They went on to have two daughters, Judith and Jill.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Jim Perry during his national service in the Royal Navy in Singapore in 1946Jim Perry during his national service in the Royal Navy in Singapore in 1946

As his sense of community spirit grew stronger, Jim joined Stourport Urban District Council in 1959, serving on many committees and, in 1964, he was elected the youngest-ever chairman of the council.

During his years of public service as a councillor, Jim was involved in many community initiatives, including the setting up of Stourport Day Centre in New Street, now The Elizabeth Mills Centre, for the enjoyment of the town’s elderly residents.

Perry’s supermarket soon outgrew its original premises and moved to a prime site at the corner of Lombard Street and Lickhill Road - now M&Co - in the 1960s.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Jim and Val on their wedding day in 1952Jim and Val on their wedding day in 1952

When the opportunity arose to purchase the site of the Haven Cinema next door in the 1970s, Jim created a frozen foods centre in the additional floor space.

Jim opened a village shop on Areley Common in 1956 and 50 years later, at the age of 78, he fulfilled his ambition to offer local residents a bigger and better local shopping experience and opened a larger site across the road, on which he had built a purpose-designed village supermarket, incorporating the post office.

A founding member of Stourport Rotary Club in 1963, Jim’s dedication to the movement and its objectives was unwavering during his 57 years of membership.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Jim receives the prestigious Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow award in 2003Jim receives the prestigious Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow award in 2003

This was recognised in 2003, when he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship, given to members for outstanding contributions to the club and the community it serves.

In later years, Jim turned his lifelong love of photography into a new business, Jupiter Photography, specialising in weddings.

He passed away peacefully on Friday, July 10.

Jim's family said: "Jim’s love of Stourport-on-Severn and its people was at the heart of everything he did.

"His involvement in the town’s council, Chamber of Trade, Boat Club and Rotary Club is testament to his steadfast community spirit.

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"Many describe Jim as a true gentleman, always smiling and willing to help anyone who asked.

"He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him."

For anyone wishing to pay their respects to Jim, the funeral cars will pass his village shop in Areley Kings and his old supermarket at the top of Lombard Street on the way to the crematorium for 11.30am on Thursday, July 30.

Donations in Jim’s memory can be made to Stourport on Severn Social Day Centre Association c/o B Ince, Funeral Directors, 8 Severn Side South, Bewdley DY12 3DX.