CITY MP Robin Walker has paid tribute to a ‘true Worcester hero’ following the death of Cecil Duckworth CBE at the age of 83.
Mr Walker hailed the ‘tremendous positive impact’ Mr Duckworth had on the city he loved and his said his legacy of achievements would live beyond him.
The 42-year-old revealed he first met Mr Duckworth as a small child and has known him from most of his life.
Speaking to the Observer, Mr Walker hailed the Warriors benefactor as a ‘giant of Worcester industry and philanthropy’.
“I have many fond memories of Cecil Duckworth from first meeting him at the triumphant reopening of the Diglis factory after a fire nearly destroyed his business, to standing with him on the cold touchline at the edge of a rugby field,” Mr Walker said.
“He was always a figure of inspiration, kindness and wisdom to me and his life has helped so many thousands of people around Worcester.”
“Although he didn’t come from Worcester originally, he is one of many people who chose to make his home here in the 1950s and the energy and drive he brought with him have made the whole city a better place.
“From inventing the world’s most efficient boiler in his garage at home, to building a business success story that heats millions of homes, his first calling was in the world of business.
“As someone who started as an apprentice, with Redman Engineering, he made sure his business always gave young people a chance and it is one of his many spectacular legacies that each of his successors at Worcester Bosch, started out as an apprentice and worked their way to the top.”
Mr Walker said the philanthropist’s work after selling his business was a remarkable and unparalleled set of achievements.
“All of these extraordinary contributions to his city were added to by a remarkable contribution to wider public service,” he said.
“He was a governor at Worcester Sixth Form College and served as the chairman of the South Worcestershire Community Healthcare NHS Trust for a number of years. In latter years as a Deputy Lieutenant, he regularly appeared at civic occasions, supporting good causes across the county and supporting the Queen’s representative in Worcestershire.”
“There can be few people in Worcester’s history who have done so much good across so many different fields.
“From the families of children with life limiting conditions who benefit from his generosity to Acorns to the millions of people up and down the country with warmer homes as a result of his contribution to heating technology, from
Warriors fans to anyone who has taken part in a litter pick or enjoyed the facilities at the Environment Centre in Gheluvelt park, we all owe Cecil Duckworth a debt of gratitude.
“My thoughts today are with his family and particularly his wonderful wife Beatrice who has been omnipresent with him in everything he has done. It is fitting he was one of few living people to have received the freedom of the city of Worcester, I was proud as Worcester’s MP to see him receive it and as long as I live I will be proud to have known this great man.”