Paper industry veteran Tom Clarke passes away

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Well known recycled paper industry figure Tom Clarke has died.

He was known as the founder of Interport Paper, which operated from 1973 to 1995 until it was bought by Biffa.

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His son Neil Clarke, who is managing director of Recycling UK, wrote:

“After a short illness my dad Tom Clarke sadly passed away at 3.06am on Saturday 11 March 2017 very peacefully with myself, my mum and three of his grandchildren Michelle, David and Jayne comforting him. The last 24 hours were lovely for him and even though he was heavily sedated we played all his favourite music and he acknowledged us at times. We also talked about his life and family and we cried and laughed in equal measure. He is at peace now.

 “My dad was involved in the industry directly through his ownership of Interport Paper Company from 1973 to 1995. He became involved in the recycling industry by accident in 1973 when the 3 day week meant his engineering factory was redundant for the other three days so on hearing that the local Bowater Paper Mill at Ellesmere Port was short of waste paper, he built some cages to put on the delivery trucks and all the men went out door to door collecting around the Wirral on the three days the factory was closed.

“Amazingly, within a few years the waste paper side of the business had grown to become the main business activity operating from Ellesmere Port and Gaerwen, Anglesey. 

“The Bowater factory at Ellesmere Port closed in 1980 and became Consolidated Bathurst a few years later but that did not stop us. My dad expanded by having a new purpose built site constructed in 1982. We joined IWPPA/IWPP Ltd and became active members. The business expanded substantially by supplying all over the UK but also by selling into Holland and Germany through an agency agreement with Richard Paulusma and Leoreitsma BV (Now Huhtamaki). We also started exporting New KLS in containers to India on a weekly basis which was fun in the mid-80s.

“In the early 90s my dad was instrumental in taking over part of the business of Trident Waste Paper of Saltney Chester. And we purchased outright Paperchase Waste Paper Ltd of Wrexham  and re-located the business to a large site we purchased on Wrexham Industrial Estate. We also started a Security Shredding Company Data Destruction North West Ltd.

“In 1995, we sold all the family group companies to UK Waste Ltd (now Biffa) which enabled my dad to ease off a little and retire as his health had been suffering for a few years. He still stayed in touch daily though and has always been there supporting Simon Marsden and  I when we needed advice (and when we didn’t) after starting Recycling Uk Ltd.

“He didn’t really retire as a new chapter in his life started with his increased interest in racehorses. He has had a fantastic 22 years looking after his interests in the UK and Cape Town and he has met many people who have become very close friends over the years. His biggest achievement was buying a horse called Cretan Gift at 11am on a Saturday morning and at 3pm it won the Ladbrook Silver Cup at Ayr. He also stayed in touch with many in the recycling industry through my continuing business interests and loved attending various golf tournaments and lunches organised within the industry.

“He has also spent many happy hours with his five grandchildren and recently two great grandchildren. Another love of his life was Everton Football Club where we have been season ticket holders for many years. He and mum enjoyed going to virtually every game at home over the years. He also became a big follower this season of TNS FC/The New Saints. He loved watching their games with us all and they always made a fuss of him. They held a minute’s silence for him on Sunday before their Welsh Premier League game against Bala Town. He would have been so proud of that.”