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Triple tragedy hits Brighton shopping street
A community of family businesses is reeling from the sudden loss of three well-known figures from one street in a matter of weeks.
Sydney Street traders in Brighton are in mourning after the tragic deaths of three men connected to long-established shops in the distinctive shopping district.
Business owners said the close-knit community of family-run retailers was still in shock following the deaths of Dirty Harry’s Steve Pybus, carpet shop owner Peter Davey and most recently Jay Gunn of Gunn’s Flower Shop.
In January vintage clothes shop Dirty Harry owner Steve Pybus died, closely followed just days later by the 67-year-old owner of Peter Davey and Son Carpets who suffered a heart attack while playing golf at Hollingbury Park Golf Course.
Jay Gunn, whose funeral was held just last week, died on February 28 just a fortnight after his 40th birthday.
Peter Davey’s daughter Sam said her father was playing golf with his cousin and when his playing partner turned to put the flag in the hole Mr Davey collapsed.
Paramedics and doctors worked on the grandfather-of-five for 90 minutes but the family took comfort from the fact he died almost instantly and would not have suffered.
She said: “It was such a shock to us. My dad wasn’t overweight, he didn’t drink excessively, he didn’t smoke.
“He had a stroke three years ago but he had recovered and was back working.”
The carpet shop has been in the street since 1983, making it one of the longest lasting shops in the area.
Miss Davey said the family used to share jokes with the staff at Gunn’s next door over the many years the two businesses ran side by side.
She said: “James was a character, dad was here a long time, Steve was well-known.
“These were people wjho were recognisable in the street. People in the street have been really nice. They told me what a decent man my father was, what a gentleman he was.”
Ingrid Zeige, who has run Curiouser and Curiouser in Sydney Street since 1992, said the deaths had shocked the community but keeping the shops open and continuing to work could have a cathartic effect.
She added: “We have had three funerals in the street but you have to keep going, you have to pay the bills and you have to carry on.
“We have all been reminded of our own mortality.
“It can happen in the blink of an eye and your heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one.”
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