Moving tribute to ‘gentleman’ Spalding trader George Layton

George Layton next to his much-loved Bentley Arnage.
George Layton next to his much-loved Bentley Arnage.

An emotional tribute has been paid to the manager of a Spalding dry cleaners’ shop for nearly 50 years.

George Layton, of Laytons Dry Cleaners and Launderers in Francis Street, died on Thursday aged 92.

Dad was a wonderful man, always immaculately dressed and a gentleman to the very end

Andrew Layton, of Laytons Dry Cleaners and Launderers, Spalding, Market Deeping and Bourne

He started working for his father William Layton, who founded the family-run dry cleaning business in 1935 when it was based in March, after leaving school at the age of 14 in 1936.

After military service during World War II, Mr Layton returned to work for his father between 1947 and 1989, opening another branch in Bridge Street, Spalding, in 1955.

Andrew Layton, one of Mr Layton’s four children, said: “Dad was a wonderful man, always immaculately dressed and a gentleman to the very end. He walked to work every day from his home in Love Lane, Spalding, and never took a day off, except for Sundays, until he finally stopped working last October.

“We thought Dad would go on forever because he worked six days a week, but he also loved the cinema, theatre and fairgrounds for its machinery.

“Dad’s other great passion was his Rolls-Royce and he was a member of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club for nearly 40 years until we had to sell his car because it needed some work doing to it.

“So we bought a Bentley Arnage instead and he always sat in the front, except for when we took him to the hospital on Thursday when he rode in the back.

“Dad must have known that it was the last time he was going for a drive in it, but he still walked into the hospital dressed in a shirt and tie.

“He was a dignfied and smart gentleman right to the very end.”

A private, family cremation will be followed by a thanksgiving service for Mr Layton to take place at St Mary and St Nicolas Church, Spalding, on Friday, April 15, at 2pm.

George Layton and the dry cleaning business he worked in was the subject of a feature in February 2014.

Speaking to features writer Jean Hodge for our sister newspaper, the Lincolnshire Free Press, Mr Layton said: “The first day that I opened (the shop in Spalding), I had 100 customers and I still have the little ticket book to prove it.

“It was the first time that people could see someone pressing clothes in Spalding.

“I learned (the job) on a press when I was 14 and now here I am at 90 and I’m enjoying the business very much, meeting people I know, which is very nice.

“It gets me up in the morning which is wonderful because I feel so well and don’t feel 90 by a long chalk.

“I’m here six days a week at my age – you don’t find many people like that do you?”

George Layton of Spalding dry cleaners celebrates 90th birthday