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A tribute to Roy Fox

Oct 09, 2014
Roy Fox died on the 19th August 2014 after his condition deteriorated rapidly following a long illness. He was just a few weeks past his 80th birthday.

Roy was one of the elder statesmen of the moving industry.  He was an entrepreneur who learned his trade well and built his business up from modest beginnings into a successful international operation that was respected both locally and abroad.  He will be greatly missed by his family and those who knew him well.

 

He was born on 5 July, 1934 and brought up in Newport, South wales, into a world of poverty. At age 15, and to help support the family income, he left school to work in the local Orb steel works as an office boy.  At 18 he performed his national service in the Grenadier Guards where, in full ceremonial dress, he protected Her Majesty The Queen and, later, became a guard at Spandau prison in Berlin where Rudolph Hess later became the only inmate.

 

On leaving the forces, and after a short period in the police force, he joined Pickfords in Cardiff as a trainee manger.  Roy learned his trade, as did so many others, as a trainee with Pickfords.  His first management job was with Pickfords in Weston-super-Mare he then went on to manage other depots in the group.  In 1971 he sold everything he owned to buy a small moving company in Pontypool for just £6,000.  This was the company that went on to become Fox the Mover and later, the Fox Moving & Storage of today.

 

Roy’s principle of business was to work hard, train and be independent of others.  “The work diary was never full,” said Paul Fox, his son, who joined the company in 1977, served at the chairman of The Movers Institute in 2000 and BAR President in 2004. “There was always space for another job.”

 

Roy Fox was founder member and chairman of Britannia Movers International and BAR President in 1984. He was well known for his straightforward manner and sometimes sharp wit.  He was a regular and enthusiastic attendee at BAR conferences and an Honorary member of BAR. He attended the BAR conference in Glasgow in 2014 just a few months before he died.

 

Colin Quarrington, who was the editor of the Removals & Storage and worked with BAR for many years handling PR, conferences and publications worked closely with Roy when he wanted to adopt the plain English principles for the BAR conditions. “It caused me no end of anguish,” said Colin, “but Roy was a very interesting man and great company.”

 

David Bunting, was BAR President in 2005, immediately following Paul. “My first real recollection of Roy was when I was Vice President of the Association and invited to speak to the South Wales Area.  Roy was at that meeting, and he was very supportive.   I clearly remember how appreciative he was regarding my speech, and shared with me his own thoughts, which, given the nature of the man and his standing in the Association, I listened to carefully. He was never pushy with his points of view - but never backward in giving advice when asked, which was invariably sound. All in all, a lovely man who I greatly respected, not only for what he'd achieved in his long career, but also for who he was. I will miss him.”

 

David Trenchard, an industry friend for 40 years or more and BAR President in 1992 said that he always liked to listen to Roy.  “He was an industry leader.  He thought things through and was never afraid to speak out.  He was always prepared to try something new if his business, or the industry might benefit.”

 

John Court worked with Roy and had known him for many years. "It was a great shock to hear of Roy's sudden death so soon after seeing him at his recent 80th birthday party in Wales, and so soon after his wife death,” he said. “We had known each other well since our early Pickfords days in the 1960s, indeed we even bought their house in Coventry when we moved there and Pickford's moved him to Lincoln. We both left Pickfords and set up our own individual businesses, his in South Wales and mine in the Midlands, which led us both, along with the late Peter Langdon, to found Britannia Movers International. They were challenging and interesting days with many laughs among much stimulating argument."

 

Roy’s funeral was held on 29 August, 2014 at Thornhill Cemetery, Cardiff. The service was very Welsh, with a male vocal quartet and musical recitals from Roy’s friends and family.  There was no mumbling into boots during the hymns: Welsh people like to sing and the harmonies added a totally new dimension to old favourite songs as the congregation raised the roof of the Wenallt Chappel.  In their tributes, Roy’s family spoke of happy days and gave amusing anecdotes of a man who was ‘insanely curious’ and had a remarkable ability to overcome adversity. 

 

Roy’s wife, June, died just last year.  He leaves behind three children, 10 grandchildren, including Daniel who became part of the company’s third generation in 2007, and a great granddaughter ‘Mai’, all of whom Roy was immensely proud. 

 

In closing Paul Fox said: “I have lost a father, a confidant, a business partner and a friend.  Fathers and sons seldom express their feelings for each other but, in our case, this was not necessary.  Most importantly I truly believe that Dad was fulfilled and had no regrets in life.”

Photo: Roy Fox with his son Paul and Granson Daniel.

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