FOR more than 40 years Keith Hillman and his family ran Crediton Pet Shop, Keith becoming known for his love of parrots - and the occasional one that escaped, causing some curiosity and amusement.  

Keith died last month and his funeral service was held at the Exeter and Devon Crematorium on May 31.  

The service was taken by the Rev Lewis Eden, who said Keith had been born in Gloucestershire in June 1936, growing up with two brothers and two sisters. 

He met Audrey in 1955 and they were married in 1959, buying their first home in Ebley, now part of Stroud, Gloucestershire where Ian and Sue were born. 

Before he worked for the Milk Marketing Board in Stonehouse, Keith was with a dredging company and then the Cadbury factory. 

In 1987 he was transferred to Crediton Milk Marketing Board depot.  Mr Eden said this began the many happy years Keith and his family spent in the town.  He and Audrey bought Crediton Pet Shop on the High Street, Audrey running it, helped by Ian and Sue after school and at weekends.  

While Keith and Audrey ran the shop, Mr Eden said they had great pleasure in breeding parrots.  On the odd occasion one or two escaped which gave rise to Keith’s nickname of “Birdman”.

It was a most odd sight to see a brilliantly coloured bird on a rooftop in the town.

Mr Eden said the Pet Shop had been a huge part of their lives and the Crediton community for 42 years.  After he retired from the MMB, Keith helped in the shop before he and Audrey retired and moved to their present home in the town where Keith enjoyed the garden and began woodworking, spending hours in the shed, coming out covered in sawdust. 

He also became a regular driver for the “Crediton Courier” in the days before artwork was sent digitally.

Then the pages were all prepared by hand, all paper art work, Keith delivering that to the printers first in Dursley, Gloucestershire, then Plymouth and later Exeter, bringing back the printed papers. 

Keith and Audrey had many holidays, including to Australia to see parrots in their natural habitat.  

With Audrey, Keith leaves their two children, three grandchildren and three great grandchildren. 

Donations in his memory were for Hospiscare and may now be sent via A White and Sons, Albert Road, Crediton EX17 2BZ.