Tributes paid to Welch Fishmonger founder Kenny Welch, 85

Fishmonger Kenny Welch kept working until he was 82
Fishmonger Kenny Welch kept working until he was 82

A well-loved figure in the life of Newhaven and Edinburgh has died at the age of 85.

Kenny Welch opened his wholesale fish business in Leith and presided over its growth and expansion across the city.

Born in Dock Street, Leith, in 1933, Kenneth George Welch left school at 14 and started working as a messenger boy in a local fish shop.

Delivering fish and working in the shop, he learned the skills of the trade at a time when fish shops prospered across the city and fishermen still sailed from Newhaven Harbour.

Following his National Service, in 1959 Kenny set up a wholesale fish business in Portland Place, Leith. Several times a week he would drive up the east coast in a lorry to buy the best of the catch landed at Peterhead for his customers in Edinburgh.

With the freshest produce and friendly customer service, the business prospered and expanded into a string of retail shops across the city, selling directly to the public.

Ten years ago the business consolidated into a flagship store at Newhaven Harbour where four generations of the Welch family worked together in the business.

Kenny was a regular fixture at the counter right up until his retirement three years ago, chatting with customers and filleting fish with incredible skill and the speed of a man half his age.

As a leading figure in the industry, Kenny was the 44th president of the National Federation of Fishmongers, serving from 2005 to 2008.

The organisation said: “Kenny was a true gentleman, a master craftsman and a fantastic ambassador to not only fishmongers but also the wider seafood industry, respected and liked by all who had the pleasure to meet him.”

Kenny was married to Anne, and between them they had five sons and three daughters. The business is now run by sons Gary and Kenneth Jnr, who remember their father as a hard-working man, devoted to his family and his customers.

“He loved working and carried on until he was 82. He was happiest filleting the fish and he was the best at it”, said Gary.

There will be a service for Kenny at Warriston Crematorium on Monday, 28 January, at 9am followed by a burial at Rosebank Cemetery.