ONE of York’s first Asian shopkeepers has died suddenly while travelling abroad, aged 70.

Kanti Patel - known by the local community as ‘Mister P’ -ran a convenience store in Heslington Road for many years until retiring in 2007, said his son Amit.

He said his father had arrived in York in the 1970s to work at the former General Accident insurance company and then bought the then newsagency in 1980 while continuing his career, with his wife Vasanti taking control of the shop.

“They decided to extend the shop in 1986 to become a convenience store and off licence, which meant Kanti leaving his work,” he said.

“He would always make a point of stocking whatever was asked for and assisting his elderly customers with delivering foods they had bought and arranging for small jobs to be done.

“He was a firm believer in supporting the local community which in turn he believed would support the local businesses.

“He later went on to purchase a second shop in Badger Hill and amalgamated the newsagent with the off licence. He received recognition at the Castle Museum when they ran a feature on local business people.”

Amit said that on retiring, his father promised his family he would do as much travelling as possible, going to destinations from Machu Picchu to Vietnam.

However, on their latest trip to the Andaman Islands in India he had passed away very suddenly, leaving behind Vasanti, his children Amit and Jesmini and five grand children, to whom he devoted much of his time.

Amit said the funeral take place at York Crematorium at 10.20am on Friday, with the family welcoming anyone who knew Kanti and a collection held for the British Heart Foundation.