A tribute to Kelvin Hunt, Rugby’s champion of books

Kelvin Hunt. NNL-161107-112506001
Kelvin Hunt. NNL-161107-112506001

On Saturday, June 25, Kelvin Hunt, a much-loved family man, well known in Rugby and one of the longest-serving independent traders died after a long battle with cancer. The Advertiser has liaised with his family for an obituary and present their words of tribute in today’s paper.

‘Kelvin was born on July 18, 1955 in Rugby to a local family. His father was from Rugby and was employed by GEC machines. His mother came from Lutterworth. They had two children, Kelvin and Roger.

Kelvin attended Eastlands and Dunsmore schools. He left school at 16 and began his working life in the early 1970s with George Over Ltd, a prestigious, traditional shop in Market Place, Rugby. He was offered an apprenticeship in bookselling and was taught the importance of customer service. He worked hard and was ambitious. Overs moved from Market Place back to 16 High Street, Rugby, where Kelvin was promoted to bookshop manager and eventually general manager.

Overs closed and Kelvin was made redundant but was given the opportunity to take over the shop. He was passionate about books and wanted to keep a bookshop in the town. With this in mind in October 1993 Overs became Hunts Bookshop. He kept three Overs staff on to continue the bookshop.

Kelvin built up a good name in the bookselling world. He attended many functions within the bookselling association and publishers in the area. He attended events with some famous names such as Jeffrey Archer, Melvyn Bragg, David Attenborough, Alan Whicker, Maeve Binchy and Terry Wogan.

He encouraged readers and writers alike. He gave advice to parents and children, recommending reading material. He wanted everyone to enjoy books. Kelvin held events like readathons with schools and charities to raise money for books. He helped new writers, giving guidance on how to get published and the best publishers. He held book signings to promote their books.

Kelvin’s expert knowledge of books and customer service was paramount. He loved to chat with his customers on many subjects but especially on local railways and steam locomotives. The shop was more than a bookshop and Kelvin made it special.

He expanded the shop and moved to 31-32 High Street where he remained for 15 years. He then took on some temporary leases but wanted to downsize and return to the High Street. He moved to 9 High Street in October 2013. However, he was only there for 12 months before he had to begin his treatment for cancer. He received three cycles of treatment at Walsgrave and Nottingham hospitals. This was a difficult time as he suffered several infections.

He received good news in January as his tumour had responded well to radiotherapy.

However, another infection dealt a blow and a CT scan revealed bad news, his tumour had returned with aggression.

Kelvin was advised that no more treatment could be given. He returned home on palliative care, where he died with his wife Pauline and sons Christopher and Dominic by his side.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday, July 20, at 2.30pm at St Andrew’s Parish Church, Rugby. Kelvin’s family would like to invite everyone along from family, friends and customers new and old. There will be a retiring collection for Macmillan.

There will be a condolence book in the church on the day and after at the bookshop. A reception will be held at the Rugby Railway Club, Hillmorton Road, Rugby, at 4pm.

The family would like to thank all of his customers for their concerns and support over the last two years, and the many kind tributes through cards, emails, texts and social media. Kelvin was part of Rugby town. He was appreciated by many people and will be sadly missed.

The shop will continue to trade as it has since Kelvin’s son Christopher has taken over. However, it will only remain open if it receives support. Help keep Kelvin’s legacy of the love of books alive. Kelvin brought culture into the town, he became a big part of Rugby. The town is fortunate to still have a traditional bookshop, many towns are not so lucky.’