A KIND-HEARTED business owner who ran a popular shop in the heart of Swindon has died.

Tributes have poured in to sing the praises of Dave Parfitt, who took over Cobblers Corner in the town centre bus station 35 years ago and helped it become a cornerstone of the community.

The 63-year-old from Coleview’s children Chris and Emma would like to say a big thank-you on behalf of the entire family to everyone who has written messages of condolence after their devastating loss.

Chris said: “We have been overwhelmed with love, support, kind wishes and condolences from people. This comfort has made such a big difference to us, knowing he was so well-loved. It’s going to leave a big hole. Swindon will stand still.

“He was at his happiest when he saw other people happy, he was selfless and giving, approachable and kind, and would help anyone with anything, or just listen, he always had time.

“Dad was a gentleman, a family man, with a big personality, and just an all-around good guy with a huge heart who saw people from all walks of life but never judged anyone.

“I knew he was popular because when Emma and I were kids, we couldn’t get away with anything - people who saw us would always tell him because they knew him.

“He worked hard to provide a good life for us and gave us everything he could. He was extremely proud of his shop, it became a massive success because he was determined not to be beaten by any others. And he was immensely proud of my sister and I, his grandchildren Lily and Isla, and his nephews and nieces Joe, Amy and Shane.”

Dave enjoyed birdwatching, fishing, playing football in his younger days, and watching rugby and motorcycle racing on the TV.

He loved spending time with his family and going for drinks or meals with his friends - especially at the old Worthington Inn in Nythe.

He moved to Swindon from Chelmsford and worked in the Ravel shoe shop chain and Sketchleys before deciding to become his own boss and manage Cobblers Corner. The shop will now cease trading.

The Adver visited Dave’s shop in 2017. He said: ““You just love it when they go out with a smile on their face.

“It’s just a sense of pride – if you put yourself out, people are going to come back, and if you don’t do a good job, people aren’t going to be coming back 30 years later.

“I couldn’t work in a factory, seeing the same faces and doing the same job. Although I’m fixing shoes all the time there’s so much variety.

“At the end of the day, I’ve struggled, I’ve had bad times, I’ve had good times, but I tell you what – I wouldn’t change anything.”

Dave died on November 17 after struggling with pneumonia, Covid-19, and underlying health conditions. His funeral will not be a solemn affair. The Parfitts want to celebrate his life, as he would have wanted, and encouraging guests to wear brightly-coloured and comfortable clothing.

The procession will pause outside Cobblers Corner on December 17 at around 10.50am before the service at Kingsdown Crematorium at 11.15am. Donations to Battersea Dogs Home are requested instead of flowers. A wake will be in the Towcester Suite of the Coleview Community Centre from 12.30pm to 4pm.