Sad farewell to local businessman ‘Nobby’

John (Nobby) Holmes who has died aged 86
John (Nobby) Holmes who has died aged 86
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Well-known local businessman John Stephen Holmes, known to many as Nobby, has died at the age of 86.

Mr Holmes, who was born in Gorefield in May 1926, died last Monday (February 18).

He attended the village school, leaving at the age of 15 when he joined the army and enjoyed serving in India.

On leaving the army he began work for Rome Brothers in Harecroft Road, Wisbech as a mechanic working on Albion and Leyland lorries. Rome Brothers was eventually taken over by British Road Services where Mr Holmes continued to work until he bought French’s Garage in Wisbech St Mary in 1955.

In those days Mr Holmes repaired cars and lorries and delivered paraffin to local residents. After a few years JS Homes Ltd took the Austin franchise and sold BMC Commercial vehicles together with models from Leyland, Albion and AEC. British Leyland relinquished the franchise in the early 1970s and JS Holmes operated for a few years selling used vehicles. In 1976 Octave Botner, of the Datsun company, approached JS Holmes Ltd to take on the Datsun franchise and the company began selling Datsuns. In 1992 Datsun was taken over by Nissan and the Nissan franchise has continued to serve the company well to this day.

In fact JS Holmes Ltd is one of the oldest serving Nissan dealerships in the country. The Ford franchise, which was acquired recently runs successfully alongside Nissan.

With three generations of the Holmes family involved, JS Holmes Ltd has always been and still remains a family affair.

Mr Holmes attributed his success to hard work and good customer service. In fact the company has won many awards over the years for sales and after sales performance and customer satisfaction.

Even when in his 80s Mr Holmes continued to take a major interest in the day to day running of the company, popping in every morning for a coffee and a chat with customers and staff.

His presence will be greatly missed by staff and customers, but his family will continue to operate the company to his high standards.

Mr Holmes leaves a widow Jill, the couple celebrated their ruby anniversary on Valentine’s Day, and as well as his two sons Martin and Stephen, he leaves stepson Andy Hagon, daughters-in-law Linda, Kate and Davina, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday (March 5) at 2pm at Wisbech St Mary church.