THE founder of Keith Jones Christian Bookshop in Hinton Road, Bournemouth, has died at the age of 97. Keith Jones founded the bookshop in 1954 after being made redundant from his job as manager of the Pickering & Inglis (P&I) shop in Old Christchurch Road.

The day after getting the news, a friend wrote to him quoting the Bible verse in Romans: “And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Seeing a potential business opportunity, Keith used his redundancy money to buy the P&I stock from their Bournemouth shop, found cheaper premises in Hinton Road and Keith Jones Christian Bookshop was born.

It has since become a magnet for Christians from near and far wanting to experience this spiritual Aladdin’s Cave.

Darren Peach, 41, one of the current partners, who has been working there for 22 years, had known Keith since he was a child. “Keith was an inspiring person who gave me the incentive and the desire to be part of the bookshop,” he said. “I grew up going through Sunday School and attending Charminster Chapel with Keith and it was there that he suggested I came to work with him. It’s an honour following in his footsteps for everyone working here.”

Although Keith never had any children of his own, he ran a boys’ club in Charminster with his brother Roland and felt God calling him to stay unmarried for the sake of the club. The boys’ club had a gymnastics team, three football teams and one of the members, Bob Perrett, went on to become a professional football player.

Keith and his brother brought a plot of land behind the club so that it could become what is now Charminster Chapel. He also played a part in the formation of Strouden Park Chapel.

A service of thanksgiving for Keith’s life took part at the chapel in Charminster. His niece, Mrs Rosemary Rogers from Bournemouth, speaking on behalf of his 23 nieces and nephews, said: “Our uncle was a true example of a Christian gentleman and was beloved by so many.”