Former Boydell's toy shop boss dies from lung disease
9:44am Monday 21st October 2013 in News
THE family of a Bolton business hero paid tribute to her “strong opinions” and “loving guidance” after she lost a battle with a lung disease.
Rita Riding, who died on October 6 at the age of 79, helped to run Boydell’s toy shop in Bolton for about 50 years and after its closure in 1996, worked on cruise ships for Saga.
Mrs Riding, who had been living in Ladybridge, was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease four years ago, and her condition deteriorated to the point where she struggling to look after herself, an affront to such a proud and independent woman, according to relatives.
She leaves behind daughter Carol Estrava, son Philip Riding and five grandchildren. Her family said that Bolton will “not be as good a place without Rita championing her causes”.
Mrs Riding had lived in Bolton throughout her life and was a regular contributor to The Bolton News, writing a number of letters criticising the government and Bolton Council’s policies on finance and traffic.
She campaigned for better town centre parking from as early as the mid-1970s and most recently wrote to the paper in March this year.
Daughter Mrs Estrava said: “She was a remarkable lady who wanted to change the world.
“She was an only child but friends of hers from younger days say she was a blonde bombshell, whizzing around town in a convertible Hillman Minx, living life to the full.
“She wanted to change the world and always thought she could do better than the government and Bolton Council.
“I am immensely proud of my mother, her independence, strength, organised life and it is with great regret we have to say goodbye to her.”
An active and adventurous woman, Mrs Riding was president of Bolton Bridge Club and lady captain of her golf club.
“Even after she was housebound with COPD, mum played online bridge,” said Mrs Estrava. “Giving up was never an option for her.”
After inheriting her grandfather Bernard Boydell’s pawnbroker business, Mrs Riding and her husband transformed it into a toy shop, which employed more than 40 people.
It closed in 1996, but Mrs Riding had always looked after her family, having sent her daughter and son to Bolton School, where she had been educated — and was equally passionate about creating a sound footing in life for her grandchildren Billy, aged 28, Charlie, aged 23, Danny, aged 22, Lydia, aged 18 and Joe, aged 14.
Mrs Riding began working on cruise ships after the closure of Boydell’s, combining employment with her passion for foreign travel.
“We all worked in the family business, Boydell’s, and mum was brilliant in advising us all,” said Mrs Estrava.
“We will all miss her being around, particularly her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly. Bolton will certainly not be as good a place without her championing her causes.”
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