Woodbridge: Tributes paid to charity and business leader
09:00 27 September 2013
One of the best-known figures in east Suffolk has died at the age of 85.
William Jacob lived in Woodbridge most of his life and was a leader of the business community and took a leading role in Suffolk charities. He was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1991.
Mr Jacob served as a pilot with the Fleet Air Arm during the Korean war, completing 160 missions.
He left the Navy in early 1957 to pursue a career in industry becoming, in 1965 the youngest executive ever to be appointed a director of Tubes Investments.
He went on to become Managing Director of BSA and Triumph motorcycles in the US before returning to Suffolk where he became chief executive of East Anglian Securities Trust.
He was a founding director of Radio Orwell (with his brother John Jacob) and after its sale he continued his association with the industry becoming chairman of several Tindle stations including Dream 100.
He was also chairman of English Hops and was a founder of IDJ Limited Merchant Bank.
Mr Jacob was active in charitable activities and the arts. He served on the Board of the Aldeburgh Foundation, was one of the founders of the Abbeyfield home at Highlands in Woodbridge.
He was local Chairman of MacMillan Cancer Research and a trustee, vice chairman and vice president of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
Among his fellow directors at Radio Orwell was former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks who was a personal friend of his.
He said: “I knew him almost all my life and although we were different generations we were very good friends. He was an engaging and amusing man, devoted to his family.”
Mr Jacob was one of the founders of the Abbeyfield Deben Extra Care Society which opened in 1983. Founder chairman Charles Notcutt said: “William was the first treasurer and did very important work raising money for the charity.
“He took over from me as chairman and we always worked very closely together. We were very close friends.”
Julian Roughton from the Suffolk Wildlife Trust described him as: “The best chairman we never had!”
He said: “He was on the board and very active with us for about 20 years and helped steer us through some challenging times as well as some good times.
“He was vice chairman and felt he was too old to be chairman – but he was always there helping the trust to develop and grow.”
Mr Jacob, who was the son of former BBC director general Sir Ian Jacob, leaves a widow, Rhonda, whom he married in 1954, two sons – Patrick and Ian – and five grandchildren.