LUXURY jewellers Upchurch says goodbye to the town centre after more than six decades with an up to half-price closing down sale.

On Saturday, the independent business will launch its sale on £3million worth of stock, before the final countdown begins.

It was a tough decision for current owner Adrian Batchelor, who inherited the family-run jewellers from his late wife Caroline's mum Anne Farthing, and her partner David Upchurch.

Sadly, Caroline died of an aggressive brain tumour last March, after being diagnosed in 2013.

He said: "From that point onwards the shop became an uphill struggle we couldn't quite get to the top of.

Halstead Gazette: Experts - Reginald Upchurch (left) and Michael Drew, examining the turret clock from St Michael’s Church, Myland, in 1961

Experts - Reginald Upchurch (left) and Michael Drew, examining the turret clock from St Michael’s Church, Myland, in 1961

"When she passed, I asked her best friend Caroline England, who was based in Derbyshire, to come onboard and help with the business. Then we learnt from September 2016, Rolex was going to close its account with us and gave a year's notice.

"Between that time and August when the account closed, we thought about closure because the income from Rolex took away significant investment.

"I spoke to both Anne and David at length and they fully understand why we're doing this. It would be a struggle without the income from Rolex and the declining income from jewellery sales, so it was either decide now or dwindle away and die, which I wasn't prepared to let happen."

Upchurch was previously turning over in excess of £2million, had a staff force of nine, and had expanded to include a gallery next door selling its fine silver jewellery.

Halstead Gazette: Retro - Dorothy Putman, known as Mrs P, and Reginald Upchurch the shop in 1959

Retro - Dorothy Putman, known as Mrs P, and Reginald Upchurch the shop in 1959

This was largely orchestrated by business partner Mrs England, who met Adrian's wife when they were Sheffield University students.

Reginald Upchurch, founded the shop in 1952, and his son David took over in the late Eighties.

Both he and Anne began their careers in the jewellery industry - David as a skilled gemmologist, while she was an administrator at the famous Croydon's in Ipswich.

He said: "David decided in 2005 he wanted to retire. We were living in Peterborough, which is where I'm from, and originally said no, but then decided we liked the idea of working for ourselves so moved to Colchester.

"They worked alongside us for a couple of years to show us the ropes. It was a steep learning curve.

"My wife Caroline was an accountant for 16 years, the same length of time I worked as a telephone engineer for BT, so I was employed as the people person.

"They exuded such passion and knowledge, and we inherited their enthusiasm for the business."

Despite the factors outside of Adrian's control, the shop had still fallen victim to a declining high street.

Where Upchurch is based at St Nicholas Passage, Adrian has experienced huge changes which has impacted retail sales, such as a decline in footfall and the internet.

He said: "The High Street either needs to reinvent itself or there will be a domino effect of indepedent retailers closing down.

"Where we're situated in Colchester is also undergoing considerable changes. There are plans to regenerate with Curzon Cinema, Queen Street and Greyfriars Hotel having opened so it appears to be looking better this end, but it maybe happened too late for us.

"Along with everything else we're suffering the impact of internet purchases. We consider ourselves a luxury jewellers and I can't see people buying items like ours online.

"Car parking still remains one of the major problems and there appears to be a poor park and ride service into the town centre."

Adrian intends to retire and focus on his children Louise, 16, and Daniel, eight, something he has found challenging while being at the beck and call of high-profile clients.

Volunteering is also on the agenda at some point.

“Running the store has been an entirely fascinating process, which I've thoroughly enjoyed," he said.

"Our customers have been so refreshing to deal with. I’m pleased we can hold this sale and offer them a final opportunity to take home some memorable pieces of beautiful jewellery.”

Visit the store from 9.30am.