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Past Master Graham Sharp, 1938-2024

Published on: 17 April 2024

It is with great sadness that we announce The Father of the Court, Past Master and a Past WCB Clerk, Graham Sharp, has died, aged 85.

Past Master Graham Sharp

Graham was known to many, having joined our Livery on his 21st birthday, he moved up onto the Court 20 years later and served as Master in 1989-1990. At the time he was the second youngest Master ever. In 1997 he became Clerk of our Company, retiring from the post in 2003.

In addition to this Graham was also a Trustee of the BDCI and a member of the Institute of Meat, which he joined in 1965.

Graham was, in his own words “an Essex man.” Born in 1938 in Wanstead his father was a director of Armour & Company and his grandfather was also chief meat inspector at Smithfield Market and in 1955, aged just 17, he joined Armour as a clerk.

After six months he was keen to gain practical experience in handling and selling meat and joined Spanjers on their fresh meat stalls at Smithfield with the idea of becoming a salesman. He attended Smithfield College in the evening and became a director of Spanjers, working at the market until 1964.

He then moved on to set up a wholesale depot for the business in Chelmsford, moving back to Smithfield Market after 2 years and then in 1967 the company was bought by Dalgety.

Graham was then invited to work in Newry in Northern Ireland on a joint Dalgety venture with the Danish company Emborg. It was to be his first experience of slaughtering and boning. He became sales manager, concentrating on carcase beef and lamb, wholesale primal cuts and by-products.

At the end of the 1960s the plant was sold to FMC and Graham returned to the UK to help set up a meat operation, including seven wholesale depots and the acquisition of catering butcher wholesaler, Peter Dumenil. Graham became managing director of Peter Dumenil, reporting to the main board and in addition to his catering experience he also saw potential in retail and bought several shops – 10 in total by 1973.

Headhunted by Armour he joined them as general manager of their meat division and was appointed as a director in 1975.

A father and grandfather Graham was a great presence at Butchers’ Hall. The Deputy Clerk, Carla Ashcroft, paid tribute to him recalling Graham as "a true gentleman, with a quick dry wit and a twinkle in his eye. He loved a glass of red wine and played quite a lot of golf! Graham was a great source of wisdom and knowledge for the Livery. News of his passing will be a sad day for those who were lucky enough to have known him, as either a friend, a Liveryman, as our past Clerk and ultimately as Father of the Court"..

If you wish to send condolences to Graham's family or receive information about the celebration of his life, please contact The Deputy Clerk, who will share the details as soon as they are known.