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Obituary: Tony Gaeton

Obituary: Tony Gaeton

Obituary: Tony Gaeton

Tony Gaeton, who worked at his family firm MG & Sons for more than 40 years, died in Phuket, Thailand, on November 7th. He was 59.

Born in Charing Cross Hospital on January 10th, 1964, Tony had already been a delivery boy for dad Mickey before leaving school and joining the company, at 14. Mickey, who started his own career as a porter in the old Covent Garden, had established his own business as in the 1960s, initially wholesaling fruit and vegetables from a unit in King’s Cross. The firm was initially called Michael Gay Ltd, but renamed MG & Sons when the family changed its surname to Gaeton in the early ‘70s. It relocated to New Covent Garden Market in 1980 and many still knew and referred to the father and son team as Mickey and Tony Gay right up until the business was sold to Premier Fruits in 2018.

The firm had built its reputation as a supplier to London’s first flush of Indian restaurants, but as an ambitious young buyer, Tony moved the MG & Sons offer on, and running the firm alongside Mickey, became a supplier to fine-dining clients. They specialised in speciality French produce and Tony regularly visited French wholesale markets to find the product required by a demanding customer base.

Barney, Tony and Micky Gaeton

His son Barney also joined his dad in the business – he is now 29 and works as a heating engineer. Tony’s brother Mick Gaeton, who was also at MG & Sons from 2016-2018, said: “Tony gave his life to the business and his beloved son, Barney. He was in the market for nearly 40 years and everyone knew him. Outside work, he loved golf and Arsenal. He was a very proud man and so many have said that he had a heart of gold.”

Tony was married to Barney’s mother Tina, who tragically died in 2005. In 2018, he moved to live in Thailand after meeting a new partner Ana. Having suffered life-threatening injuries in a motorbike accident on the South East Asian island last year, Tony recovered, then came back to the UK in September to see family and his friends from NCGM. Soon after his return to Thailand, he had a stroke, from which sadly he never recovered consciousness.

“He was larger than life – once seen, never forgotten and he lived the life he wanted to live,” said Mick. “He would have been pleased to have been granted a painless and peaceful exit.”

CGTA Chairman Gary Marshall said: “I dealt with Tony for over 30 years and for me, he was always passionate and professional. He bought a lot of product in the market and he was a very good market reader who always gave you a chance to make a living. Another iconic personality has left us and on behalf of myself and the rest of the market, I’d like to pass on our condolences to Tony’s son and the rest of his family.

Tommy Leighton
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