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Businessman who helped grow electrical chain dies

PUBLISHED: 13:10 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 28 March 2018

Jim Hughes. Picture: Courtesy of the Hughes family.

Jim Hughes. Picture: Courtesy of the Hughes family.

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Jim Hughes, who helped build his father's company Hughes Electrical alongside his siblings, has died.

The Hughes electrical store in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.The Hughes electrical store in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.

A businessman who was a key player in building the Hughes Electrical chain has died.

Jim Hughes died aged 88, surrounded by family at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham, after losing his fight against cancer.

Described as a modest, private family man, Mr Hughes was instrumental in growing the business set up by his father Frank.

He was born in Lowestoft in October 1929, the same month as the Wall Street Crash, and was later evacuated to Derbyshire at the start of the Second World War before returning to the town.

There, he joined the family firm which had been established in 1921. Hughes Electrical’s first shop was in Tonning Street, Lowestoft, where the company built and sold radios.

The business was taken on by Jim, his sister Phyllis and brother Peter in 1947 following his father’s death, and they expanded the business across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Jim married his wife Beryl in 1961 and together they had three sons, Andrew, Robert and Jeremy, who in turn have 10 children between them.

The company continues to be led by Robert and Jeremy, the third generation of the Hughes family to run the business.

Mr Hughes was a passionate Ipswich Town fan and season ticket holder for many years, enjoying FA Cup success at Wembley in 1978 and a great UEFA Cup victory at Portman Road in 1981.

After retiring from full time work in 2007, he spent his last years enjoying cruises and classical music and was a frequent visitor to the Royal Opera House.

Tributes have been paid by Suffolk business leaders.

Jules Shorrock, chair of Suffolk Chamber in Lowestoft & Waveney, said: “Jim Hughes was a towering business figure in Lowestoft and beyond. He was also a dedicated supporter of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and on behalf of all our members, I would like to send our sympathies to his family at this sad time.”

Hughes Electrical now focuses on the rental sector, and has 41 stores across the country, employing more than 800 people. It is a member of the EDP/EADT Top100 list of Norfolk and Suffolk’s biggest companies by turnover.

Mr Hughes’ funeral will take place at St Benet’s Roman Catholic Church in Beccles at 3pm on Wednesday, April 18.

The family has asked for no flowers to be sent, but have asked for donations to All Hallows Hospital which can be sent to Rosedale Funeral Home, 22 Hungate, Beccles, or via the Much Loved online memorial site at www.rosedalefuneralhome.co.uk.

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