Bury St Edmunds: Tributes follow death of Denny Bros co-founder Russell Denny

THE co-founder of a Bury St Edmunds business which grew from one printing press into an international operation has died.

Russell Denny, who founded Denny Brothers with his brother Douglas when he was 18, passed away at his home in the town on October 10, aged 85, after battling a long illness.

The son of a groundsman, Russell first branched into business on his own at the age of 14 when he got on a train to the Lake District and bought a printing press.

What was really just a hobby transformed into a business when Douglas, on leaving the Navy, decided to invest his demob money into the venture. In 1945 Denny Bros was formed, operating out of a garage at the bottom of the garden.

Now - 67 years later - the Denny Bros Group, which has its head office in Kempson Way, Moreton Hall, Bury, is made up of nine companies covering everything from manufacturing and self-print to retail sales and machinery.

Nowadays, the company is well-known for is its award-winning Fix-a-Form multi-page label, which is produced all over the world, however it still has a retail business in St Andrew’s Street in Bury with everything from printing services to art materials.

Of his father’s achievements, Andrew, who is managing director of Fix-a-Form International, said: “It’s fantastic really. He never set out to build an empire. He just wanted to create his own business and earn himself a good living for himself and his family.

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“I think because of his hard working attitude it’s grown to what it has now.”

Andrew, who is chairman of the Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said his father - who was a director of the company up until his death - had “great ingenuity”.

“I remember him quietly sitting at his desk often gazing at a drawing board. We just knew that he at any time was going to come up with some brilliant idea, which he normally did.”

He added: “He was generally the sort of person who would avoid taking the credit for things.”

Although never formally trained, he was a very good engineer, Andrew said, adding how he helped develop Fix-a-Form.

Denny Bros has changed a lot over the years, but it is still very much a family business with all three of Russell’s children having director roles.

But Russell’s life was not all about business, Andrew explained, describing a family man who amongst his hobbies enjoyed flying his light aircraft, motorcycle racing, painting and he had an interest in cars.

Andrew, who used to go flying with his father, remembered how occasionally Russell had difficulty locating the airfield on the way back.

He said: “As I said he was always exciting to be with, often getting himself in and out of scrapes. Always making us laugh, most of the time deliberately, but quite happy to joke about himself as well.”

Russell, who Andrew described as very caring and supportive, was also father of Maureen and Graham and a grandfather-of-six.

He celebrated 51 years of marriage with Winnifred, 86, in September this year.

All are welcome to attend the funeral service at West Suffolk Crematorium on Monday at 3pm. It is family flowers only, but donations, if desired, can be made to the British Heart Foundation. Donations can be sent to L Fulcher, 80 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1NX.