Belfast Telegraph

Mourners share fond memories at funeral of Comber chip shop owner

By Brett Campbell

The owner of a Co Down chippy that became a pillar of the social scene will be remembered for his "generosity".

Harry Fraser (83), who passed away in hospital last Wednesday, bought over Joan's Cafe in Comber in 1971.

His son Henry and daughter-in-law Elizabeth said they were deeply moved by stories shared by mourners who packed the pews of Second Presbyterian Church in Comber to pay their final respects on Monday.

"I was particularly moved by reminders of my father's generosity," Henry said.

"My brother Stephen and I were both in the Boys' Brigade and whether it was the junior section or the senior section, the treat back in those days for winning competitions was always a trip to the chippy.

"Quite a number of people told us this week that they are still waiting on the bill."

Harry, who was temporarily separated from his three siblings after they were evacuated from Belfast during the Second War, left school at the age of 14 to train as a mechanic before joining the police four years later.

"After 20 years in the police he got an opportunity to purchase the chippy and he jumped at it," his son said.

"My dad was very lucky to leave the police at that time because it meant he avoided the worst of Troubles."

The grandfather-of-four underwent heart bypass surgery back in 1984 and had stents put in while holidaying in Spain in 2008.

However, his health deteriorated rapidly over the last seven months and his heart eventually failed.

"The bypass bought him over 30 years, so he was fortunate," Henry said.

Harry waited 13 years before he put his own name on the sign above the door of the chippy.

It was only after the old Picture House was demolished in 1984 that he purchased neighbouring premises and called it Harry Fraser's. Former potato peeler Henry said his dad "lived in the chippy" until he sold it upon retirement in 2001.

His wife Olive passed away three years later.

His daughter-in-law, who said people still approach her saying "there's no chips like Harry's" has also been contacted by couples telling her they first met in the once-thriving chippy.

"It was such a big part of the social fabric," she said.

Harry's eldest brother Ian passed away five years ago, and he is survived by siblings Desi (81) and Alex (71).

Belfast Telegraph

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