Helston is mourning one of its best loved business owners this week following the death of David Hutchinson.

Mr Hutchinson ran Hutchinson’s Fish and Chips, at the top of Meneage Street, for almost 20 years with his wife Coleen.

A stalwart member of Helston Rotary Club, who served as president two years ago, he died on Tuesday last week following a long illness that was kept private from many of even his closest friends.

Mike Hales, currently serving president of Helston Rotary Club, said: “David was a much loved member of Helston Rotary Club and a good friend to many members.

“He was a private man, who made little of his final illness, so that we were shocked when he died last week. It was not really expected.”

Mr Hutchinson had a large number of friends, formed through his Rotary work, his time as a fish and chip shop owner, and his subsequent job inspecting other fish and chip shops.

Before this Mr Hutchinson served as a helicopter pilot with the Royal Navy, which he joined from school, aged 17.

He became a member of the Fleet Air Arm and was awarded his wings on February 19, 1971, winning a trophy for being best pilot.

Mr Hutchinson initially joined 824 squadron, conducting anti-submarine warfare, then served with 814 squadron before becoming a helicopter instructor in 1974 with the 705 training squadron.

Between 1975 and 1976 he was a member of 771 search and rescue squadron at RNAS Culdrose.

Serving members of the squadron are due to be represented at Penmount Crematorium in Truro tomorrow, Thursday, as part of his funeral that starts at 3pm.

It was during his time on 771 that Mr Hutchinson became friends with naval colleague Ivor Milne, who trained search and rescue divers.

Mr Milne said: “He was known as a calm and pleasant fellow. You couldn’t meet a nicer chap. He was never one to shout from the rooftops and one of the sharpest and best pilots in search and rescue.

“He was a rare character. He was so modest and such a stalwart. When you combine these two things together you have got an extremely reliable chap, who was so well respected.”

Mr Hutchinson finished his naval career with 824 squadron, but went on to become a civilian flyer to the oil rigs from Aberdeen, between 1977 and 1981.

However, he is probably best known in Helston for his time owning Hutchinson’s Fish and Chips shop and takeaway, which he and his wife ran for almost two decades before selling the business in 2005. During their tenure the business won numerous awards, including nationally.

Prior to moving to Helston they ran a fish and chip shop in Truro, for five years.

Outside of work they enjoyed sequence dancing, attending a number of clubs in the local area.

The couple have one son, Craig, and a four-year-old granddaughter Mia.

Craig said: “We’d like to say thank you for the support we have been given, particularly from the dance clubs, Rotary club and the Cornwall Association of Reserve and Retired Naval Officers.”