Tom Weatherby obituary

My father, Tom Weatherby, who has died aged 90, worked in senior management roles at leading textile and engineering companies based in the north west of England. Despite working for companies with subsidiaries around the world, he only ever lived in three houses, all in Heaton Moor, Stockport, where he was born, and all within 800 metres of each other.

Tom was the son of William Weatherby, an artist who did portraits and textile designs, and his wife, Kathleen (nee Glancy), a nurse during the first world war who also worked in a pharmacy. After attending Xaverian college in Manchester, he started out as an apprentice for Renold Chains, which made chains for bikes, and did his accountancy exams at night school.

He then worked in senior management roles for the Winterbottom Group, Tootal plc, of which he was managing director, Readsons, of which he was chief executive, Whitecroft plc – also as chief executive – and Emersons.

While Tom was an accountant by training, he had a fascination with new technology, introducing innovative techniques into the textile companies he worked for that allowed them to survive in a fiercely competitive global market.

Tom met Sheila Jackson, a Bristolian, through a family connection and they married in 1953; he managed to persuade her to move to the north west.

He had a lifelong passion for training. He was a member of the National Training Task Force, which led to the formation of Investors in People, and was founder chairman of the Stockport and High Peak Training and Enterprise Council as well as chairman of the North West Regional Development Organisation, which attracted millions in foreign investment into the region. He was appointed CBE in 1983.

Tom became a governor of Manchester Metropolitan University in 1989 and for a time chaired the university’s finance and planning committee. In 1999 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the university in recognition of his contribution to its affairs.

He was fiercely proud of his Manchester roots. But he enjoyed travelling, initially for work and latterly on holiday with Sheila, who remained his great support throughout his life.

He is survived by Sheila and by four children, Anne, Liz, Peter and me, and 10 grandchildren.

Content originally published on by John Weatherby