Well-known Pendle businessman whose family name remains synonymous with wholesale alcohol trade dies aged 96

The last remaining son of the original founder of Pendle firm John Stephenson & Sons has died at the age of 96.

By John Deehan
Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 8:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 8:54 am
Aidan Stephenson
Aidan Stephenson

Aidan Stephenson, who was the youngest of four boys, played a pivotal role in the expansion of his dad's business which started out as a bakery in 1914 before becoming a grocery store four years later.

During the Second World War, Aidan served as Cadre Sergeant in the Green Howards Regiment, stationed at the Richmond barracks.

Following Aidan being demobbed in August 1947 he returned to work in the family grocery business. A limited company was then formed with both parents and his two brothers Edward and Denis as directors.

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Edward (left) and Aidan Stephenson with their mum, Mary.

In 1956, Stephenson's, now led by Aidan as managing director, was one of the founder members of SPAR.

Four years later, the firm was granted an off-licence for purely retail sales. It was around this time the licensed wholesale trade began to develop and continued to grow until in 1976 the grocery side ceased, and the company became wholesale and retail merchants only.

With the third generation now working in the business, Aidan decided to retire in 1988.

A keen walker, his retirement was spent hiking around Pendle and Downham while the Yorkshire Dales also held a special place in his heart – from his time in the Green Howards.

His travels took him further afield, too, with memorable trips to many locations across the globe including India, New York, Malta and Rome.

Although he never married - he always said he was married to the business - he was very close to his nieces and nephews.

He moved from his home in Manchester Road, Nelson, in 2008 having spent his whole life there, to live with his niece and her husband in Barrowford.

Aidan spent 12 happy years in his own little annexe, pottering around in the garden and going to meet friends for days out. He was active up until he

was 93 when his walking deteriorated but still managed to enjoy life, having carers coming to help him in the morning.

In January he developed pneumonia and was hospitalised for three days before returning to his home to be cared for by the family. He died on April 15th with his family around him.