A Fond farewell to Harlesden’s Mister Patty
PUBLISHED: 12:48 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 13:17 20 September 2012
Life of Jamaican shopkeeper who brought taste of the Caribbean to Brent remembered
"He was almost like a father figure to people. The customers used to call him uncle"
“Everyone simply knew him as Mister Patty” – said Roger Lue-Fong, “his whole life was based around the family business.”
He was, of course talking about his father Roy and his immensely popular Jamaican Patty business, Mr Patty’s which has become so ingrained into Brent life for the past 40 years.
Roy died on August 23 this year at 78, following trouble with his heart after returning from a trip to China where he visited the home of his ancestors.
“It was a terrible shock” said Mr Lue-Fong, “He seemed perfectly fine and we were all looking at videos of his holiday.”
“It’s left a big hole in our lives and has touched the Brent community as well; we have had many people leaving condolence cards at the shop.”
Born on 20 January 1934 in Kingston Jamaica, and of Chinese decent, Roy Lue-Fong came to England in 1960 and after a stint of working for an electrical company, he set about bringing to life his dream business with his wife Cindy.
The pair, who lived in Sudbury, would bake the Jamaican delicacy all night before taking out the ‘patty pan’ to workers, into barber shops and to shop owners in Brent calling out “the Patty man is here.”
Eventually, due to popular demand the pair were able to open their first shop in 1972.
The store, in Roundwood Road became the first West Indian take away shop to open the UK and after moving locations to Kensal Green, they eventually settled in Craven Park Road, Harlesden in 1986, where the shop remains open to this day under his son’s stewardship.
“He was almost like a father figure to people, the customers used to call him uncle, being a small business you get to know your customers, and it becomes like visiting an old friend not a take away” – said Mr Lue-Fong.
“He was a very kind and gentle man, he didn’t care about the money all that much, even in the shop he would always be willing to let customers off or offer them a freebie if they didn’t have enough.
“He loved to talk to people, especially talking about the old days with the West Indian community at Blue Mountain [a Caribbean grocery store in Craven Park Road].”
After retiring in 2005, and moving to Buckinghamshire, Mister Patty, handed the mantle to his son Roger.
However, as Roger explained, he would still take a vested interest in goings on at the store.
He said: “He would always be coming back and keeping an eye on me, tasting the food and seeing everything was ok, it was their baby so of course he couldn’t really leave it.
“My father will be fondly remembered for not just what he said, but just as importantly for what he didn’t say, and this was how he gave his support to so many.
“He was many things, a physically strong man, a playful character, charming, funny, generous, willing and thoughtful.
“But above all to his family he was simply a husband, a dad, and a grandfather... and to everyone else who knew him he was Mr Patty.”
Roy Lue-Fong’s funeral was held on September 4 close to his home in Buckinghamshire.
He is survived by his wife Cindy, and two sons Roger and Simon.
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