Gem of a raffle’s diamond prize

The oldest surviving business in Friars Square moves into it's new premises - pictured is Robert Leigh of Solitaire jewellers in Friars Square, Aylesbury with the diamond solitaire ring which is the first prize in their opening competition
The oldest surviving business in Friars Square moves into it's new premises - pictured is Robert Leigh of Solitaire jewellers in Friars Square, Aylesbury with the diamond solitaire ring which is the first prize in their opening competition
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A jewellery business established in 1987 is the oldest independent town trader in the redeveloped Friars Square shopping centre.

And to celebrate the opening of their new premises Solitaire Jewellery (now merged with Leigh Jewellery) is offering a fabulous diamond ring worth £1,150 as first prize in a free raffle.

Barry Leigh opened his first unit in the original underground area beneath Friars Square but had to move his business several times due to redevelopment works.

His son Robert said: “In 1990 he was moved to a temporary unit outside the old Woolworths site and footfall was absolutely awful. It was a building site and no-one ever walked past. He put a £10 note for sale in the window at £7 and no-one bought it, which proved his point.”

Mr Leigh survived by working at Rivets while his wife Doreen manned the shop.

In 1993 Mr Leigh moved to the Cloisters and bought a second shop, Solitaire, which was run upstairs by his daughter Kerry and her husband Peter Desmond who bought the shop after two years.

Now the two shops are merging as one under the Solitaire name.

Mr Leigh died in 2006 and his son Robert is now co-owner of Solitaire with his sister and her husband.

Mum Doreen still pops in occasionally to do a shift.

The raffle will be drawn on today (Saturday August 17) at 4.30pm.