Waltons’ Judy Turner leaves fond memories

PUBLISHED: 09:17 11 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:18 11 March 2013

Judy Walton Turner

Judy Walton Turner


Judy Turner, who with her husband Ian Walton Turner ran Exmouth’s former iconic department store Waltons in Rolle Street, has died aged 75.

And more than 300 people packed the Holy Trinity Church last Thursday

From 1926 to 1989 the three-storey store, positioned where New Look and Thorntons is today, was Exmouth’s answer to Grace Brothers in the sitcom Are you Being Served, complete with haberdashery and lingerie departments, menswear and ladieswear and a perfumery.

Judy, the oldest of three sisters, was born in Reigate in 1937 and raised as a catholic. As a child of World War Two she frequently slept in air raid shelters and was at one point briefly evacuated to Weston-Super-Mare.

Chatty and extrovert at boarding school she excelled at sport, especially tennis and later developed a passion for rugby, partly through Ian and one of her sons, Mike, who both played.

She later went to secretarial college in London and learned the skills she was to use for the rest of her life as company secretary of Walton’s, Exmouth RNLI (in Exmouth) and of various Christian and charitable groups.

“She loved to organise,” said her son Jonathen at her eulogy. “Things, people, and she was extremely good at it. She’s even largely organised today’s proceedings!”

While in London she was drawn into the social whirl and was taught to drink gin and tonic by the film star Trevor Howard who starred in The Third Man.

It was on an Austrian skiing holiday in 1956 that she met Ian; they had met on a train and married in 1959 and moved to Lympstone.

They became regulars at the Globe and were flooded twice and, on one memorable occasion, were ferried to the pub in a rowing boat.

After a move to Exeter – there was also a Waltons store in the city – they moved to Exmouth and Ian took over the family business with Judy as company secretary.

She immersed herself in Exmouth and for 20 years was in charge of the RNLI’s flag day, raising tens-of-thousands for the charity, a feat for which she was honoured last year by the Duke of Kent in London.

“We could never get into the garage because it was full of small orange boat shaped collecting boxes,” remembers Jonathen.

In 1989 Waltons closed for the last time and just a year later Ian died.

He added: “She was incredibly generous with her time and fantastically loyal as I’m sure everyone here knows. (She had) an address book the size of an encyclopaedia.”

She leaves three children - Jonathen, Gina and Mike, and grandchildren Daniel, Rosie and Isabella.

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