On Saturday, 21 September, Turkish Cypriot businessman Şükrü Ahmed passed away in London aged 83 following a heart attack. He had been receiving treatment for an infection at Whipps Cross Hospital in the month leading up to his death.
His family said they are “heartbroken” by this “huge loss” of Mr Ahmed, who was a “larger-than-life character”.
Speaking to T-VINE, his son-in-law Nural Ezel described Mr Ahmed as a “well-known and popular member of the British Turkish Cypriot community”, who was highly regarded for his “honesty, philanthropy, friendliness and humour”.
Mr Ahmed had continued to work long past his official retirement age, only stopping two years ago on doctors’ orders after developing a heart spasm in 2017. Before then, his commercial success had seen him touted as ‘the pride of Cypriots’.
Born in Mağusa in 1936, Mr Ahmed moved to London in 1954. His first job in Britain was as an engineer and he later became a manager at the company.
A decade later, he established his own business, Denim Services. For a time, it was the only company stone washing jeans in southern England, with contracts from denim giants Levi’s, Wrangler and Lee Cooper, earning Mr Ahmed the nickname “Denim King”. The business also worked with high street fashion boutiques and houses, and well-known designers such as Vivien Westwood.
He later expanded into the launderette business, opening his first in Tottenham in 1970, and another in Newington Green the following year.
He later expanded into the launderette business, opening his first in Tottenham in 1970, and another in Newington Green the following year. Later, he helped his son Mete Ahmed establish Ace Leather Cleaners.
Businessman Yaşar Musa, formerly of Hackney and a family friend, said, “Şükrü abi was legendary. Everyone loved him. He was a good friend of my father, ‘makanist’ Ibrahim Musa. He was always ready to help you. I learnt a lot from him. He was a pioneer in stonewash denim.”
Mr Musa added, “My deepest condolences to all the family and community.”
Mr Ahmed leaves behind a son, Mete, daughter, Aycan, their partners Nezire Ahmed, and Nural Ezel, and four grandchildren.
His funeral will commence with prayers at 1.30pm on Saturday, 28 September, at Palmers Green Mosque, 30 Oakthorpe Road, London N13 5JL.
His burial will take place at 3pm at Trent Park Cemetery, Cockfosters Road, Barnet EN4 0DZ.
The funeral is open to all family and friends.
A mevlit [Muslim prayer night] will be held at the family home in Crews Hill, Enfield, afterwards.