After a short illness, James passed away on 18th September.
After nearly 20 years as a board member, here are some memories of James, from various members of the Mikron team.
James was a guiding light, through Mikron’s hardest times and now, the flourishing times.
He enabled the board to give us a chance, as a new administration team and oversaw our transition from Mike and Lynne, growing from just Marianne and Pete to our buzzing little office of 5 part timers.
We’ll miss printing out emails (James was NOT a digital native!) and the ding of the Bakelite phone as he answered our calls.
The last time he visited us in the office, we wrote his parting words down as a quote, with our tongue firmly in our cheeks, but it now rings so true: “I’m all for the people”
RIP ‘Sir James’
James had been a supporter of Mikron for a long time before he joined our Council of Management (or Board in today’s terminology). It wasn’t long before be became Chair and served in that capacity for many years until his untimely death.
James was a great Chair. He took his position seriously and discreetly kept his tabs on ‘us workers’. But he was always supportive. He had a wholehearted belief in the company and relayed his enthusiasm to us. If necessary, he would attend meetings with the Arts Council and Kirklees, and quite often treated us to lunch afterwards!
He will be missed by all those who knew him, by Mikron and by all the other organisations he supported, like the Huddersfield Thespians and his own theatre company (which raised money for charity), Jimbo Productions. He had many talents. He was a gifted artist, writer, actor and director. He also loved travelling the world.
I personally shall remember him as a very kindly, very gentle, humourous friend, who was always there when you wanted him.
I first met James when he joined me and the rest of the board of Mikron in 1998. So I’ve had 19 years of Mikron meetings, meals and last nights during which I got to know him. He brought his skills and commitment to Mikron but he also brought his warm personality, generosity and sense of humour. He became our Chair in 2001, taking over from Tony Burton, and for some reason decided that I had played a vital role in bringing this about. So from that point on we always had a bit of a special relationship – lots of hugs for sure.
Apart from face to face meetings we spoke on the phone fairly regularly, especially at difficult decision times for the company to talk things through and latterly to chat more personally as his health worsened. He was at all times a delightful, thoughtful and compassionate man and I am so pleased to have had him as a friend. I bid him a very fond farewell and will treasure the memories.
I always looked forward to seeing James. I’ll miss his warm welcomes to Trustee meetings and that playful twinkle in his eye, as he eschewed any use of online communications. And I’ll miss the graceful way he ran meetings, with his gentle humour and obvious pleasure in helping to steer the company forward.
This is a sad time. James has led Mikron with integrity and enthusiasm through some very difficult times, to the good place we are now in. He was a great supporter of young people becoming involved in the theatre. He encouraged our daughter and her friends when they were part of of the LBT Youth Theatre, and watched her progress through drama school and onto the stage. He will be missed.
James was born in Huddersfield and educated both locally and in Shropshire. he was trained as a Dyer and joined the family company until a management buyout in 1989. In this period he was chairman of the prestigious Bradford Playhouse, where he acted and directed the Huddersfield and Halifax Thespians.
James was introduced to Mikron when he organised a mill outing to see a play about Luddites! He was impressed by the enthusiasm and ethos of the company. Mike Lucas later invited him to join the Board of Management and a couple of years later he became Chairman.
In 2000 he formed ‘Jimbo Productions’, producing Nowel Coward, cabarets and plays by Ayckbourn, ROnald Harwood and Stan Sharp. Proceeds from these shows go to local charities.
James’ outside interests include Theatre and Opera, painting, golf and an occasional visit to Huddersfield Town.
He is the illustrator of “The Ring of the Niblicks”, a book about Wagner and golf.