Tool firm chief dies

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The funeral of the chairman of an historic Sheffield tool firm takes place in Hathersage on Monday.

John James (Jack) Jewitt, who was 87, spent 20 years as managing director of Footprint Tools, before becoming chairman of the family-owned firm, now run by his son, Christopher.

Mr Jewitt was a Freeman of the Cutlers’ Company, a former city magistrate and, for a quarter of a century, chairman of Hillsborough Boys Club – now part of Clubs for Young People.

He was awarded the OBE for services to export, served as president of the Federation of British Hand Tool Manufacturers and president of its European counterpart, the CEO, which he was asked to lead for an extended period of five years.

Mr Jewitt was also a founder director of Radio Hallam and the inaugural chairman of the Hawley Collection Trust, which preserves the collection of tools and manufacturing memorabilia built up by former tool distribution business chief Ken Hawley.

It was for his work with the Trust that he received the Sheffield University Centenary Medal.

John Jewitt left Firth Park Grammar School and joined his father at the family-owned firm, wood working tool manufacturer Alfred Ridge, after being evacuated from Germany, where he was on a school trip at the outbreak of the Second World War.

Ridge, could trace its history back to the 1760s, and was acquired by the Jewitt family in 1932.

Sixteen years later, the family went on to acquire Footprint Tools - now known as Footprint Sheffield.

Footprint, a well-established brand, founded in 1875, expanded the group’s range to include plumbers’, builders and engineers’ tools.

Mr Jewitt became managing director of Footprint in the late 1960s and was instrumental in building up the company’s forging capacity as well as expanding its sales in North America.

John Jewitt was a keen dingy sailor, serving as president of the South Yorkshire Sailing Club and winning the Schull Regatta, in West Cork, three times in a row.

He leaves a wife, Dorothy, children Christopher, Claire and Marc and stepchildren Patrick, Elizabeth and Christopher.

John Jewitt’s funeral will be at 3pm in St Michael and All Angels Church, Hathersage. The family has asked that donations, in lieu of flowers, be made to Parkinsons UK or South Yorkshire & Hallamshire Clubs for Young People.

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