Former Axminster licensee dies

Town mourns long-serving publican Bill Walden, a former soldier with a distinguished army career

A well-known former Axminster businessman and licensee has died.

Bill Walden, who was 89 and lived at Shand Park, passed away in Exeter Hospital after a short illness.

For 17 years he ran the New Commercial Inn, Trinity Square, with his son, deputy mayor Jeremy Walden, and their wives, Barbara and Helena.

He was a Fellow of the British Institute of Innkeepers and a member of the Institute of Hospitality, and at one stage was Axminster’s longest serving publican.

Later the family opened their Granary bread, cake and sandwich shop in South Street.

Mr Walden retired from business in 2000 and spent his time helping his son run the sandwich business.

Most Read

A widower since 2005, in recent years he was largely housebound due to health problems.

His early years were spent in the army where he had a very distinguished career. He was at one time the youngest warrant officer in the British army and rose to the rank or regimental quartermaster sergeant major.

He saw service in the Middle East, India and Burma.

He joined the licensed trade in Leicestershire 1952 and moved to Axminster in 1982.

The funeral service is at the Minster Church on Tuesday, January 3, at 2.30pm followed by cremation.