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John Marshall - a great talent lost

9 November 2016

We were very sorry to receive a call from Burbank in Bradford to let us know that our dear friend John Marshall had lost his battle with cancer and passed away last week at the age of 57.

John was a great supporter of the FPC for many years and was loved and respected by many across the industry.

John’s wealth of experience in the fresh produce sector started at Glass Glover which he joined straight from school.  He went on to become managing director at Francis Nicholls Sheffield, and then to Swithenbank to work for the late Paul Kershaw.  In 2001 John was approached by Empire World Trade to set up Growers Direct where he remained through the acquisition by Univeg Katope (UK) until his unfortunate illness.

Growers Direct was initially a case of poacher turned game keeper just marketing C2 fruit and excess stock to the markets.  John and the team worked hard to grow the business steadily increasing its own imports tailored for the market and developing trade to supply catering and convenience.

Considered a true gentleman by members of the Univeg Katope (UK) and Growers Direct team he will be remembered fondly as an expert in his field and a great friend, respected by colleagues and customers. He was a great motivator, led by example and stressed the team was the strength of the business.

Alan Scott who knew him from 1986 and worked with him at Growers Direct said, “John had a famous sense of humour and was a ruthless practical joker.  He regularly played pranks on his daughters, turning up to collect them and their friends from nightclubs in his pyjamas and slippers or hollowing out cakes they had baked.   Although not really a sports fan, he kept up to date with clubs followed by colleagues so that he could join in the banter and even came second in EVA’s predictor league for the last world cup!!”

John was a dedicated family man who loved and adored his wife Michelle, daughters Amy and Chloe, and he became a grandfather to little Pippa at the end of June this year. 

Nigel Jenney commented, “I’ve known John for many years, he was a knowledgeable and valued member of the industry.  Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family at this very sad time, he was a fabulous guy and he will be greatly missed.”

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