Farewell to Ernest Freed - leading businessman, respected community champion and Torbay’s much loved weather man

One of Torbay’s most well-known and popular figures has died at the age of 95.

Ernest Freed, who was hugely respected throughout the business world and Torbay community at large, died last week.

His main claim to ‘fame’ was as the Bay’s much loved weather man and he fought constant battles with television bosses to make sure the sunny English Rivera received the billing and profile it deserved on bulletins.

In the forties Ernest left Sheffield and made his home in Torquay where his family bought the Robin Hill Hotel and later on the Strathmore Hotel which they ran as a Jewish/Kosher Hotel.

Ernest became very involved in local affairs and when his parents decided to live in Israel he purchased Bradshaws Toy Shop in Torquay where he spent many happy years selling toys, prams and trains. He joined the Torquay Chamber of Trade and Commerce and gave much of his time to the organisation, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He was in fact Chairman four times and then was made honorary president.

In the early sixties he became a councillor and subsequently became the Deputy Mayor. He was responsible in bringing about the abolition of performing animals to circuses in this area.

Always busy he held offices for the Torbay Synagogue, Cockington Alms House Trust for 50 years, Cockington Schoool Governors, the local Tourist Board, Torquay Hotels Association and the Bay’s twinning committee. He was invited to the Queens Garden Party in the late 80’s.

When his beloved toy shop closed he then became the Borough Meteorologist or Weatherman for Torbay which he absolutely loved. His family said: “Every Afternoon he would go to Daddyhole Plain to the weather station to take the daily weather readings.Of course, Torbay always had to be the hottest place in the UK. The role came to an end when the Bracknel national weather head quarters decided to drop Torbay from its daily weather forecasts.”

In 2007 Ernest was made a Freeman of the Borough which was a great honour for his services to Torquay Town and subsequently the Torbay Borough Council.

His family say Ernest, also a leading light in the Torquay Probus Club, enjoyed a busy fulfilling life.

They said: “He was an exceptional father, a wonderful husband and very kind to animals with a special love of pussycats. He achieved the remarkable age of 95.”

His funeral was held on Monday.