Police investigate businessman's death

MYSTERY surrounds the sudden death of a popular businessman who died just weeks after his recruitment firm went into liquidation.

Annie Davidson

MYSTERY surrounds the sudden death of a popular businessman who died just weeks after his recruitment firm went into liquidation.

Police are investigating the death of Clive Thomas who was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs at his home in Coddenham Road, Needham Market, in the early hours of Sunday.

The 52-year-old was the managing director of the Anglia Recruitment Group, a former chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors and a director on the board of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.


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His company had been recognised on ten occasions in the Archant Business Awards since it was set up in 2002 but had become a recent victim of the economic climate.

The business, which was made up of Anglia IT and Anglia Supply Chain, officially went into liquidation on May 12 after Mr Thomas took advice from business rescue and insolvency service firm McTear, Williams and Wood.

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A spokeswoman for the Norwich-based firm said Mr Thomas had liquidated the firm voluntarily and provided all the records and paperwork needed for the process to take place.

A passionate supporter of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Mr Thomas oversaw fundraising which made more than �60,000 for the charity during the last six years.

He organised three regional premieres of James Bond films at Cineworld in Ipswich and held regular poker evenings with the winnings being handed over to charity.

He was married to Jan, who was understood to have worked with him, and the couple were not thought to have any children.

Yesterday Cathy Arbon, the president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce who worked for Anglia Recruitment Group before its closure, said: “I don't think he would mind me saying he was a big man with a big heart.

“He was very kind and did a lot for charity and always wanted to help people.

“He was just such a nice guy and was very passionate about the air ambulance and had been for many years.

“He thought it was a very good cause which had saved a lot of lives locally.”

Mrs Arbon said: “Clive was very passionate about the business and was very sad having to let it go into administration.

“Everybody is upset and shocked to hear what has happened.”

She added Mr Thomas had been particularly proud of winning the community involvement awards in the Archant 2008 Business Awards.

Tim Ryan, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the Institute of Directors, had been Mr Thomas's vice chairman before taking over from him.

Mr Ryan said: “He had an informality about him, he was clever and quick-witted and larger than life in many ways.

“He knew everybody and was gregarious and a networker in a business forum, although underneath he was a thoughtful man.

“He was in the wrong industry at the wrong time, recruitment is the first industry to suffer in a recession and when his business failed he took it extremely hard.

“Clive was a very, very proud man and when he couldn't do anything to influence it he was frustrated because it was beyond his control.

“He was sad and upset about having to make his team redundant. He had built up a really good brand and good reputation.

“This is all a bit of a shock for everybody.”

Simon Gray, executive director of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, said: “Clive was a leading supporter of and ambassador for the charity.

“We will always be indebted to him for his efforts.

“My Suffolk fundraising manager, Nicky Wright, and I worked with him regularly and were always amazed at the high calibre of the events he staged in our aid and at the hard work and commitment shown by everyone involved.

“Not only did he and his team raise an extraordinary amount of money to help us keep Anglia One flying, but he also gave freely of his time and business contacts.

“His contribution to our charity was immeasurable and we will all miss his generosity of spirit and infectious enthusiasm.”

A post mortem examination on Mr Thomas is yet to be carried out and police said yesterday they were treating his death as “unexplained”.

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