Owner dies months after selling Shropshire garage

A well-loved garage owner has died less than a year after handing over the Bishop's Castle business he ran with his cousin for more than 50 years.

Owner dies months after selling Shropshire garage

Michael Hemmings spent his entire career serving the motorists of Bishop's Castle at A&J Hemmings garage in the town.

He died suddenly at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on September 23, and his funeral was held on Saturday at St Peter's Church, More.

Mr Hemmings, 73, and his cousin Gordon, 76, ran the family business in Church Street until November last year when they handed over the reins to another family business – and once a rival Ford dealer – Grant and John Edwards, of Clun Garage.

A&J Hemmings garage from around 1930

Mr Hemmings started working at the business when he was 18, then run by his father James and uncle Arthur, who were twins.

Arthur and James Hemmings in turn started the business when they were very young, with the original garage built from scratch in Bishop's Castle in the early 1920s.

The business was eventually taken over by Michael, Gordon, and Michael's brother Bob, who died from cancer in 1995 aged 55.

While involved in all aspects of the business, Michael specialised in overseeing car sales, selling Morris, Austin, MG and Ford vehicles in his time.

He also saw the original Church Street building knocked down and rebuilt in its present form in 1978, as well as the showroom and pumps sold to Harry Tuffins Store in 2000 as the family looked to downsize to a two-bay garage only.

Last year the family sold the business to the Clun Garage brothers.

At the time Michael said he had wanted to carry on at the garage until he was 75 or even longer, but had to agree with Gordon that, with their main technician moving on to pastures new, the time was right to retire.

The garage was in good hands with the Edwards brothers, he said.

He leaves behind sons Andrew and Edward and daughter-in-law Catherine, who said: "Although he is gone we keep joy in our hearts so that we can smile when we remember how lucky we were to share his life.

"These are sad times but Mike would not want us to cry, so with a pinch of glitter on your face and love in your heart just smile when you think of him."

Donations at the funeral were to Prostate Cancer UK.

As Mr Hemmings liked bright clothes, those attending were told they could wear black but were asked to also include a splash of colour.

A wake was held following the funeral at the Crown Inn in Wentnor.

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