John M Goddard

John GoddardIt is with regret that we record the passing of John Goddard, a Past President of the Society. John would have enjoyed the picture on the right : he has a pint of beer in his hand. The picture was taken at the Bass Brewery Museum on the occasion of the Society's visit in 2000. His only regret would be that Ann, his loving wife and great support, was not in the picture with him.

Born in Eastbourne, John spent his early pre-school years in India where his father worked as a railway engineer. John returned to UK for his school education and prior to commencing his career in the sugar industry he trained in mechanical engineering at Woolwich Arsenal. He spent his working life with Bookers, most of it with Fletcher Stewart and then Fletcher Smith. By 1982 he was the Sales Director of that company, Barry Newton having been appointed the MD. Amongst his sales team were Robert Alleyne and Tim Milne. Tim remembers John with great affection :

John and I travelled together for the first time to Zimbabwe to attend a site meeting at Triangle. This was a steep learning curve for a young engineer and was the first of many trips I was to make with him. He was a wonderful boss and mentor. His theatrical style was a great tool in the world of sugar equipment sales. This, coupled with a first class knowledge of all matters relating to the sugar industry, made him one of the best in the business. John had a great knack of being able to communicate easily with anybody, whether it was the owner of a sugar company or junior engineer in the plant. Once met, never forgotten.

He was responsible for developing a very good relationship with the Tongaat Hulet Group which provided FS with a strong technology portfolio. John was one of the very few non-TH people to be invited to their in-house technical seminar in Durban. His relationship with the late Robin Renton and Bruce Moor was a reflection of the esteem in which they held him.

John was to become Mr Sugar in Pakistan. I believe that John's father had worked in the sub-continent prior to independence and he certainly displayed a profound knowledge of the region and developed a new language, Urduenglish, which to our amusement he would use during long distance calls to Karachi or Lahore. It was delivered with mannerisms and an accent which would have landed him a part in the British Sitcom 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum'. During his time in Pakistan he secured contracts for the design and supply of new sugar factories. On one occasion when I was in Nairobi he called me from Lahore. Tim, I want you to pick up this chap from the Nairobi Hilton and take him Mumias to look at a clarifier. He's from Pakistan and his name is Hussein. You cannot miss him because he looks just like Sammy Davies Jnr. The problem was that Mr Hussein went under a variety of names none of which were actually Hussein. Furthermore, when I did finally track him down he bore little or no resemblance to the late singer and Rat Pack member.

On another occasion in Kenya, we were negotiating a contract with Miwani Sugars which at that time was owned by the Hindocha family. Over dinner with one of the Hindocha family and his lovely wife, the question was asked 'Well John, what kind of guarantee will we need to give for the financing as the banks may not be forthcoming?' Without missing a beat John replied,'One of your wife's earrings (which were very large diamonds) will do nicely'. Only John could get away this.

There are many more stories of John to tell and during the past couple of weeks, many have come to mind. Suffice it to say, from a personal perspective, much of what I know or have accomplished in this business I owe to John. I will miss him a great deal.

In 1988, Fletcher Stewart celebrated its 150th anniversary and John decided to update and revise Joseph Eisner's 1958-edition booklet entitled 'Basic Calculations for the Cane Sugar Factory'. John's updated version was very well received and distributed throughout the sugar industry. John was assisted in this task by Archie Murdoch, who provided technical support. Ann, an English teacher by profession, edited and proofread his work.

John was the President of the Society for a double term [6 years] : a difficult job which he undertook so well. The Society owes him much. John is survived by his wife Ann and children, Joanna and Alison.