Dudley Business Champion Charles Hanmer Dies

Charles Hamner

A leading champion of the business community across Dudley borough and beyond over the past 50 years has died aged 72.

Charles Hanmer, of Wordsley, has been described as the "Black Country Braveheart" for his efforts to promote local businesses and organisations around the region.

He launched a raft of companies in the area and blazed a trail for Black Country industry as a senior officer with chambers of commerce and other business groups.

His quoted sayings included: "If you want to talk positive about the Black Country then talk to me.

"If you want to talk negative, you've got the wrong person."

He also coined phrases later picked up and used by local organisations, including "life bank", "celebrating the differences", "brass plaque polishing" and "people make things happen - we are people, let's make it happen".

Ian Brough, former chief executive of the Dudley and Black Country chambers of commerce paid tribute to Mr Hanmer, saying: "He was one of the most passionate Black Country supporters.

 "He was always energetic in promoting the interests of small businesses and would give his advice freely."

Richard Maskery, director of Charles Design and Marketing, in Water Street, Kingswinford, of which Mr Hanmer was still chairman, said: "Charles was a huge character that everybody knew throughout the region.

"He was very much a people person - loved being around large groups of people, taking time to talk to everybody and listen to what they had to say."

Mr Hanmer, who died on December 1 in Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley, where he was being treated following a stroke, began his career as a machine tool fitter at Bronx Engineering in Lye.

He later became managing director at Netherton Ales PLC (makers of the famous Ma Pardoe's brew) and he started his own first business, Kemtex (textiles and chemicals) in 1973 with £100, selling it seven years later when it was exporting to 30 countries. Other companies included Goldtan of Mercia, Enterprise Leasing & Finance Ltd, Charles Advertising Ltd and Charles Group.

He is a past president of Dudley Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Black Country Chambers & Business Link. Among many other activities, he has been a member of the Dudley Zoological Trust, chairman of Dudley Crime Prevention Panel and Dudley Town Centre Partnership and past chairman of the Black Country Society.

Mr Hanmer and his wife of 48 years, Jill, have one son, James.

The funeral is being held today (Friday December 11) at 2.10pm at Gornal Crematorium.

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