Tributes to wife who was in tune with South Shields music business

Lila Saville with her husband Ivor
Lila Saville with her husband Ivor

The end of an era has sounded with the death of a loving mum who played a devoted second fiddle to her late husband in the success of a former South Tyneside music shop.

Lila Saville, who has died at the age of 86, supported her husband Ivor as he ran Saville’s, which was in King Street and later in Keppel Street, South Shields.

Lila Saville

Lila Saville

The couple married in 1954 and in the early years of their marriage, Belfast-born Mrs Saville worked in the business part-time.

She did so as a bookkeeper and director before giving her time to her three young sons as a full-time mum.

Mr Saville, known as South Shields’ “Mr Music”, moved into the family business in the late 1940s.

He remained at the helm through changing musical trends until it closed in 1977.

Although the family home moved from South Shields to Sunderland in 1965, Mrs Saville retained her love of the town.

This included frequent visits even after she went to live in Leeds in 2012, two years after her husband’s death at the age of 81.

It was there that the grandmother-of-six died after a short illness recently.

She was buried last Wednesday at Harton Cemetery, in South Shields, alongside her husband and other family members.

Today, sons Fraser, 55, Leigh, 53, and Adam, 48, paid tribute, revealing how their mother maintained strong links to the town throughout her later years.

Fraser, who was born in South Shields and now lives in Liverpool, said: “She retained a love of South Shields and of Sunderland, and would visit friends there often.

“She came to South Shields in 1948 because of work, met my dad the following year, went on their first date in 1950, were engaged in 1953 and married in 1954.

“It was then that she went into the family business, working a couple of days a week, but then she started a family.

“She always kept her Belfast twang but loved the North East and missed it.”

He added: “Up until a month ago she lived happily and independently, she would go out shopping, but then became unwell.

“She was very caring and always put others ahead of herself, which was reflected in the number of people at her funeral and the visits that have been paid to her family.

“Some of the girls who worked in the shop are still around, but my mother’s death is the end of an era.”

The family lived in South Avenue, South Shields before their move to Wearside in the mid-1960s, where Lila lived until her move to Yorkshire.

Fraser said she was especially proud to have worked as a volunteer for 30 years at St Benedict’s Hospice, in Sunderland.

After closing the shop, Mr Saville became a jobs support worker for the Citizens Advice Bureau, on Wearside, a marriage guidance counsellor and a South Tyneside magistrate.

He also worked as a senior officer at Tyne Dock’s Masonic Lodge and was an administrator at Sunderland’s Ryhope Road synagogue.

Mr Saville died of cancer in September 2010 at home in Bainbridge Holme Road, Ashbrooke, Sunderland.