Trib­utes paid to fig­ure­head of fur­ni­ture fam­ily

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

TRIB­UTES have been paid to Tony Bianchi, the for­mer boss of Mac­cles­field’s land­mark fur­ni­ture store.

Tony, 83, died with his fam­ily by his side at East Cheshire Hos­pice af­ter suf­fer­ing from a brain tu­mour.

He was a for­mer di­rec­tor of the 160-year-old Arighi Bianchi fur­ni­ture store, one of Mac­cles­field’s most fa­mous in­sti­tu­tions.

Tony, who lived in Prest­bury, was man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the Silk Road store along with his brother Paul for many years.

His son Richard, who also works for the firm, paid tribute to him. He said: “Dad was very so­cial, a big per­son­al­ity. He was gen­er­ous and a good fa­ther. He was hard­work­ing and a fan­tas­tic sales­man. He did lots of cy­cling and walk­ing round Mac­cles­field, loved horse rac­ing, and was keen on bird watch­ing and fish­ing.”

Richard, 56, who has two chil­dren and lives in Prest­bury with wife Penny, added: “He loved his beer and had ales named af­ter him at Win­cle and Storm brew­eries.

“He never went to univer­sity but said hav­ing ales named af­ter him was like get­ting a de­gree. “He was proud of that. “He loved Mac­cles­field and its com­mu­nity.”

Tony was dad to Richard, John and Wil­liam and had eight grand­chil­dren.

His son John said: “Dad al­ways looked on the bright side of life and had time for peo­ple.

“He was a peo­ple per­son, it was his strong at­tribute.”

Tony’s gran­dad An­to­nio Bianchi was one of two Ital­ian im­mi­grants – the other An­to­nio Arighi – who started the shop in 1854.

An­to­nio’s el­dest son was John, Tony’s dad, who was mar­ried to Irene.

Tony was born and bred on Ivy Lane, Mac­cles­field be­fore go­ing away to col­lege and join­ing the Navy.

He re­turned to Mac­cles­field to work in the fur­ni­ture shop in his early 20s. He mar­ried Pauline in 1960 and they di­vorced 25 years ago but re­mained friends.

Tony worked at Arighi Bianchi for more than 50 years be­fore tak­ing semire­tire­ment, but helped out un­til re­cently.

He de­vel­oped a brain tu­mour eight months ago and was in East Cheshire Hos­pice when he died on July 7.

Sir Ni­cholas Win­ter­ton, for­mer Mac­cles­field MP for 39 years, said: “I was sad­dened to hear about Tony’s death. He was a al­ways ex­cel­lent com­pany. A lead­ing cit­i­zen of Mac­cles­field has died and he will be missed.”

Tony’s fu­neral mass is at St Al­ban’s Ro­man Catholic Church to­day (Wed­nes­day) at 12.30pm fol­lowed by a pri­vate in­ter­ment.

Tony Bianchi cel­e­brat­ing 150 years of Arighi Bianchi at Waters Green Tav­ern

Tony (right) out­side the store with brother Paul and dad John Bianchi in ear­lier days

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