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November 14, 2016

Obituary: John Jennings – Industry Legend

Filed under: Latest News — EHN Team @ 1:30 pm

It is with a very heavy heart that we have to report that our great friend, EHN contributor, Executive Hire Show Passionate Hirer Awards Lead Judge, not to mention well-known and highly respected Midlands independent hirer, John Jennings died in the early hours of Friday 11 November after a long and brave battle with cancer. He was 71, and had served our industry for over 50 years.

After a period working in plant distribution for International Harvester, in 1964 John joined Coventry-based hirer Sterling Plant, thus setting out on his five decades of service to our industry. By the late 1970s, he had set up Alljay Tool Hire, based in Rugby. He sold this business to contractor Deeley Group in 1990, which merged it with Clements Plant – which Deeley had owned since 1967 – and re-branded the new operation as Clements Alljay, with John becoming MD.

The company expanded into the self-propelled access market in 1996 with the acquisition of Thumb-a-Lift of Leamington Spa, and then in January 2007 he led a Management Buy Out with his new business partner Jim Longstaff.

John served as Chairman until retiring and selling his shareholding to Jim in July last year, as his health deteriorated.

John was also a founding member of Hire Association Europe, and served as its Chairman in 1994/5. He also held various other positions within HAE, and served on CPA and IPAF committees over a 30 year period.

John Jennings’ role, however, that we will best remember him for is – and we are revealing this for the first time – that he has been our very own Crosshire columnist for the last 19 years. Crosshire was many readers ‘Go to’ page as soon as EHN landed on their desks or in their inbox. John empathised so strongly with hirers’ daily experiences and challenges. Everything he wrote about was inspired by incidents and developments that took place within his own hire experience.

He wrote about values and standards that were important to him, whether it was his long-standing call to resist rate-cutting, or the need to ensure proper training of all team members. And he had a healthy disdain for red tape and bureaucracy.

John Jennings’ blend of serious debate and robust good humour reflected our industry, in particular, and life in general. He is a great loss to our hire industry.

We will include a full Obituary in our November/December issue, published next week.

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