John Kitchin, the founder of C&C Catering Equipment, has died aged 86.
Kitchin was a highly respected figure in the catering equipment industry, having held many different roles throughout his 60-year career.
After completing RAF National Service, he first worked in several hotels and hospitals as a catering manager including the Imperial Hotel Llandudno, the Deauville hotel in Normandy, France, Heaton Park in Manchester, St George's Hospital in Barking and Christchurch Hospital in Hampshire, before moving to Chester in 1960.
He became group catering manager for the Chester & District Hospitals including the old Deva Hospital, the Chester Royal Infirmary, City Hospital, Barrowmore, Crossley and Ellesmere Port.
After 21 years of service at Chester hospitals, he left the NHS and started C&C Catering Equipment.
During his career, he was also national chairman of the Hospital Caterers Association (1972-1974) and appeared on the front cover of Caterer & Hotelkeeper (now The Caterer). He also received the "Past National Chair" medal from the HCA in 2016.
Having handed over the management of C&C Catering Equipment to his son Peter in 1996, Kitchin continued to play an active role in the business and was hugely proud to see the company grow.
The company now includes Kitchin's grandchildren Matthew and Jessica alongside a team of more than 40 staff, many with more than 30 years of service.
Adam Mason, director general of the Catering Equipment Distributors Association (CEDA), paid tribute to Kitchin saying: "John was a great man and leaves an incredible legacy; a family and business that he must have been so wonderfully proud of.
"On behalf of all at CEDA, Mr Kitchin will always be remembered with warmth, smiles, fondness and gratitude for what he gave to the association and the industry."
Kitchin is survived by his wife of 63 years Enid, together with children Peter, Linda and David, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).