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Former Regional Chairman, Ian Irwin, passes away

Some of you may remember Ian for his public appearances as Chairman of Staffordshire and West Midlands Region.  Ian possessed a professional ease with which he closed the Manchester Conference by inviting those present to join him for the Birmingham Conference the following year. For those who took up the invite, Ian was there with a warm welcome and another articulate speech. For a Methodist minister it is perhaps no surprise that Ian was proficient at delivering when presented with an audience. 

Ian had been a staunch supporter of the FSB for over 20 years.  He would take on any role with ease.  He had been a private secretary to the Minister for Trade and Industry and chair of his accountancy body.  He understood with ease committees and tax affairs and provided advice to a number of voluntary bodies including local churches.

When Ian moved to the Midlands, he joined the then Burton Branch and helped to increase membership so that Lichfield and Tamworth were joined to the Branch.  He was never ambitious to gain office but was always a staunch supporter of the Branch, later becoming Vice Chair of the region where he regularly contributed with wise words and knowledge. Both as Vice and later Chair of the Region Ian showed great integrity and strength to ensure that all committee members were treated with equality and respect.  With his distinctive granite edged Northern Ireland accent underpinning his calm and persuasive personality, Ian could be equally at home playing the host at an event or dealing with a difficult and sensitive situation. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he always commanded the respect of his peers.

Ian always had a story for the occasion, but in times of difficulty you could rely on Ian to provide support and advice which would lead to a positive outcome. As Regional Chairman he oversaw a period of change and brought a calmness which helped see a smooth transition. 

Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time. The “FSB Family” has also lost “one of our own” and a true defender and campaigner for a level playing field for small businesses.