Death of former Bedfordshire High Sheriff Jack Sapsworth MBE

Tributes have been pouring in for former High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Jack Sapsworth MBE DL, who has died aged 75.

The late Jack Sapsworth in his Luton office
The late Jack Sapsworth in his Luton office

They were led by Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis, who described his contribution to the people of Bedfordshire as “immense” and said he would be remembered with love and gratitude.

She added: “Along the path of life one occasionally meets an exceptional person who changes one’s life.

“Jack Sapsworth, in his quiet and unassuming way, was one such person. A truly good man, in every sense of the word, he has left us all the better for knowing him.”

The Glaswegian-born retired Luton businessman had been ill for some time and suffered from a rare blood disorder. His wife Lyn said: “He was a wonderful husband, very caring and generous. What you saw was what you got – a very gentle, caring man.”

Jack – a lifelong Hatters fan and committed Christian – devoted himself to charity work and was a keen supporter of Keech Hospice Care and Signposts, the Luton charity for the homeless.

It was a situation he understood well, as he had lived rough when he first came to Luton.

But he soon worked his way up to head the council housing maintenance team before leaving in 1971 to start his own business – J Sapsworth Ltd Glazing & Decorating Services – which is now run by his sons Gordon and Barry, The oldest, also Jack, lives in Australia.

The modest Rotarian has worked tirelessly for charity.

Signposts chief executive Kevin Porter said: “Jack has been involved since the very early days, first as a leading light of the Friends and member of the management committee, then as chairman and later as an active trustee.

“His dedication was inspirational, he was an advocate beyond compare for our work supporting the homeless. And his own experience did not prevent him from achieving success in the world of business. He was recognised with an MBE and his appointment as High Sheriff.”

John Maddox of the Rotary Club of Luton said: “Jack was a remarkable man and a very likeable character who could coerce you to help whatever the occasion.”

The funeral will take place at 11.30am at St Mary’s Parish Church in Luton on Friday March 10. Everyone is welcome. Donations to Keech Hospice Care may be sent to Neville Funeral Services.