Pet shop boss and theatre volunteer, Lorna Raven, dies aged 73

Alan and Lorna Raven, owners of Fido's Pet Bazaar, pictured in 2005

Alan and Lorna Raven, owners of Fido's Pet Bazaar, pictured in 2005 - Credit: Amanda Sandland-Taylor

The founder of a Hellesdon pet shop who was at the helm for more than four decades will be "greatly missed" by customers and their four-legged friends.

Lorna Elizabeth Raven was born in 1948 in Norwich and grew up at the bottom of Carrow Road.

The youngest of four children born to Jessie and Ernest Cockaday, she was the beloved sister of Delphine, Pamela and John.

Lorna attended Lakenham and Gurney secondary schools in her youth, where she trained as a secretary.

There she learned Pitman shorthand, a skill she continued to use throughout her life.

Following her training she worked as a typist in the mid-60s and into the early 70’s.

During her early career, she worked at establishments including Tilbury, Norwich Building Society and Heatrae Sadia, where she was secretary to the director.

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She met her husband, Alan Raven, at an evening guitar class in the early 1970s.

Soon after marrying, Lorna and Alan moved to Hellesdon, where Lorna lived for the rest of her life and became a well-known member of the community.

The couple later had two children, Oliver and Elizabeth.

In 1977 she open Fido's Pet Bazaar alongside husband Alan, first setting up shop in Meadow Way in Hellesdon before moving to Dixons Shopping Centre in Reepham Road in 1984.

Alan and Lorna Raven, left, of Fido's Pet Bazaar with successors Alison and Adrian Pettitt

Alan and Lorna Raven, left, of Fido's Pet Bazaar with successors Alison and Adrian Pettitt - Credit: David Hannant

The couple were awarded Pet Care Centre of the Year awards in both 1986 and 1993.

Fido’s continued to trade in the heart of Hellesdon until Lorna and Alan retired in December of 2020 after 43 years at the helm.

Their Elizabeth said: "Not only did she see the local community expand and change she watched the people there grow and have families and children of their own.

"She enjoyed taking part in many community activities such as the Hellesdon Carnival where Fido's sponsored the dog show and provided work experience placements for City College and local high school students.

Alan and Lorna Raven celebrating Christmas at Fido's in Hellesdon ahead of their retirement in December 2020

Alan and Lorna Raven celebrating Christmas at Fido's in Hellesdon ahead of their retirement in December 2020 - Credit: Supplied by Elizabeth Allen

"She was an active member of the City of Norwich Rabbit and Cavy Club since the 90s, in which she recently took over the roll of treasurer."

Alongside her love of animals Lorna had a variety of other passions, including cricket with her brother John as well as watching snooker, tennis and golf.

She shared a love of folk music with Alan and attended the annual Folk on the pier at Cromer without fail.

"She also enjoyed reading Jane Austen novels and autobiographies," Elizabeth added.

"She was a very social person who loved the theatre."

Lorna was also a voluntary steward at the Theatre Royal for more than 20 years and was a strong supporter of amateur dramatic groups, attending their performances as often as possible.

"She will be greatly missed by all who knew her," her daughter added.

Alison Pettitt of Pettitt and Boo took over Fido's with her husband Adrian in December 2020 when Lorna and Alan retired.

She said: "Lorna was a highly regarded member of the community in Hellesdon and we are so shocked and saddened to hear of her passing.

Adrian and Alison Pettitt (left) purchased Fido's Pet Bazaar from Lorna and Alan Raven in 2020 when the couple retired

Adrian and Alison Pettitt (left) purchased Fido's Pet Bazaar from Lorna and Alan Raven in 2020 when the couple retired - Credit: David Hannant

"She was known as a passionate and knowledgeable animal lover, often relied upon in the community for pet care advice."

Lorna is survived by her husband Alan, children Oliver and Elizabeth, grandson Eric and sister Pam.

A funeral service to celebrate Lorna's life will be held at St Marys Church in Low Road, Hellesdon on Wednesday, May 18 at 2pm, followed by her committal in the church grounds.

A wake will follow at Holiday Inn Norwich North from 3.30pm. All are welcome to attend.

The family welcome flowers, which can be sent to Gordon Barber Funeral Directors in Aylsham Road.

Donations in Lorna's memory can be pledged to Norwich Theatre Royal.

Fido's added: "We will be arranging a collection at the Hellesdon store so that customers of Fido's, where Lorna worked for over 43 years, can contribute to a charitable donation to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Lorna’s name."