Tony James 1958-1965

Tony James died from cancer on April 9th 2017 at home with his family. He was a great supporter of QEH Old Boys’ Society and audited the annual accounts for well over 20 years. He was well known as a keen and very able sportsman both at school and for the Old Boys’ teams of the 1960s and 70s. After leaving school Tony joined a firm of accountants as an articled clerk at a salary of £1 per week after working his first year without pay. Those were the days! Amalgamations meant that Tony eventually qualified in 1971 while working at Thornton Baker, later to be Grant Thornton. In 1979 he became a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and fourteen years later, he set up James and Co with his wife Sue who had been a colleague at Thornton Baker.

His sporting achievements were many and varied. He was an excellent tennis player and at school he excelled at cricket and rugby. When he left school he was a greatly valued first team player in both teams, playing cricket well into the 1990s. He was also a member of the Squires Soccer Sunday team which he and his brother, Don, founded. When his playing days were over, he qualified as a soccer referee. He was a lifelong supporter of Bristol Rovers and Bristol Rugby and was very often in the crowd on match days. He also ran the London Marathon and finished in under four hours but skiing was his favourite sport which he enjoyed for over thirty years in various countries. Latterly, he embraced the game of golf, being a member of Oldbury on Severn Golf Society and the QEH Old Boys Golf Society and became a good player achieving three holes on one. His other activities were surfing, swimming, cycling, billiards, darts and boules all to a good standard. He was a natural ball player and sportsman and made many lifelong friends in all his activities. He later took up line dancing, especially the fast twisty ones at which he also excelled. He was also a very good guitar players and seven years ago he treated himself to a Fender Stratocaster Hank Marvin (his hero) Special which he had immense pleasure in playing.

Tony was not exactly quiet, especially when playing or following sport, but he was a modest and humble man and many people have been surprised to learn the extent of all the charitable work he undertook. Tony was a Trustee of Age UK in South Gloucestershire for many years and was very active in the charity’s affairs. In 1992 he was seconded to the North Somerset Enterprise Agency as a business counsellor from Grant Thornton. Over the 25 years that he was with the NSEA he literally helped hundreds of people to realise their dream of starting their own business. Tony became the NSEA finance director as a non executive board member and was a vital member of the Chief Executive's senior team that delivered The Hive workspace project. The idea was conceived in 2007 and eventually opened its doors in 2014. Three years later it is a thriving business centre housing the Enterprise Agency as well as over thirty small businesses. It is 91% occupied and makes a real contribution to economic development in North Somerset.

Tony was always willing to help anyone in need and he kept many friendships right through from school days. He was immensely kind and considerate and will be greatly missed by his family and by all the Old Boys who were privileged to know him as a friend and team mate. The funeral was held at the Woodlands Memorial Park, Thornbury, where well over 150 people turned out to say goodbye.

Barry Coombs