Tributes paid to former managing director of Whessoe, in Darlington (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Tributes paid to former managing director of Whessoe, in Darlington
TRIBUTES have been paid to the former managing director of a major engineering firm who has died at the age of 91.
Ronald Bishop was at the head of Whessoe Engineering, based in Darlington, for 10 years until his retirement in 1986, after a long career with the firm.
He remained a well-known figure in the town and even in later years was often stopped by former Whessoe employees for a chat.
Despite being born in London, on January 1, 1922, he lived in Darlington for more than 50 years and was proud of his links with the town and the wider North-East.
He was appointed a CBE for services to the North-East in 1997 and was a college governor at Hatfield College, at Durham University, between 1989 and 1998.
He also spent many years on the Mencap committee for the North East, based in Gateshead.
Among his proudest achievements was his work to help raise more than £1m for the Millenium Centre at All Saints Church, in Darlington.
Canon John Dobson, of All Saints Church, described Mr Bishop as a stalwart member of the church and a committed Christian.
He added: “I think there will be a lot of people out there would speak highly of him as an engineer and as managing director of Whessoe.”
Mr Bishop went to Cambridge as a 17-year-old and, after gaining a double first in engineering, started his career developing armour plating for tanks.
At Whessoe, he worked on atomic power stations and North Sea rigs, working his way up the ranks to become managing director.
Mr Bishop was married to Barbara for 49 years until her death. The couple had one son, Chris, and two grandsons, Timothy and Edward.
In 2000, Mr Bishop married Christine, who he met while travelling in Iran and the Antarctic, became a part of her family.
Mrs Bishop said: “He had a very good life. He was born in London and died in London but his life was in Darlington.
“It was very important to us that he should be recognised as a Darlingtonian – he was very proud of his links with the town.”
A memorial service for Mr Bishop will be held at All Saints Church, in Blackwell, on October 12, at 12.30pm, led by Canon Dobson.
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