It was recently reported that Lance Ritchie, founder of Ritchie Engineering Sales and known by many in the building services sector, had passed away at his home in Worthing, West Sussex.
He is believed to have died on 30 July on the eve of his 81st birthday.
Several calls and emails have already been received by H&V News, paying tribute to Mr Ritchie’s character and his long and successful career.
A service will be held at Worthing Crematorium on Friday, 10 August, followed by a celebration of Mr Ritchie’s life at Findon Manor Country House Hotel, courtesy of BSW Building Services.
Those wishing to attend are invited to contact Crusader Combustions’ Dave Wiggins on 01444 836108.
Mr Ritchie is a long-term contributor to the magazine, with his letters on industry issues frequently published, the last of which appeared in 6 June issue.
January 2008 also saw the first of his personal columns, reminiscing about past experiences and continuing to focus on current issues affecting the industry.
His first column discussed the “unregulated days”, which saw the development of the domestic central heating market.
This was the period when domestic packaged and gas and oil-fired systems were introduced and Shell Mex and BP became major players.
Mr Ritchie also explained how his teenage years were spent working with cast iron sectional coal-fired boilers.
He worked for companies including International Janitor in the 1960s and formed Ritchie Engineering Sales in the early 1980s.
His two sons, Marcus and Jason, also worked for the business before moving to Canada.
Those paying tribute included Crusader Combustions’ Norman Walters, who described Mr Ritchie as a “stalwart of the heating industry”.
“He and I first met way back in the mid ‘60s when William Suggs and International Janitor became one company under the title Thorn Heating, we had a very strong working relationship for many years.
“Lance was an honest and generous colleague always ready to help he would go any distance to make sure the customer was happy,” Mr Walters continued.
“He was well known and even in his later days he would perhaps be called to a site to survey some aged boiler plant only to be able to reassure the client by stating the he sold the original boilers 30.40 or even 50 years ago.
“Lance will be sorely missed and Crusader Combustions send our deepest condolences to his family.”
BSW Building Services chairman John Belliere was the first to call H&V News last week.
“Lance was an excellent character, a gentleman and a scholar – well known to a great number of people in our industry,” said Mr Belliere.
Readers are invited to add their tributes to Mr Ritchie in the space below.