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Lance Ritchie – 1931-2012

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.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Lance Ritchie:
    Lance was without doubt one of the true bolier experts in our industry, a consumate professional and someone whom I have many memories of over the past 35yrs, never afraid to speak out when 'common sense' did not prevail he was someone who actually cared about his customers and would often 'politely' direct them away from the error of their choices,
    From a time when selling the product was not where it ended and you were often involved with installation and even in the the long term upkeep, Lance was a gentleman and he will be sadly missed and I send my deepest condolences to his family at this time of great loss.

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  • Lance Ritchie:
    Fond memories of a real Gentleman who always had the time to help and advise or just engage in some really interesting chat. My deepest sympathy's to his boys and family who continue to live Lance's dream.

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  • Comments from our LinkedIn group:

    I feel very sad at the loss of Lance, never have met him was always impressed with his contribution to H&V News, we used to compete for the £20 best letter of the week, I think he won!
    We will miss the integrity and honesty of his jottings, the Industry is worse off for the loss of such talent and Industry experience.

    Very sorry to hear of the death of Lance Richie.
    Like many others I followed his articles in the magazine and indeed learned quite a bit from them over the years. He was obviously of the old school and it brings it home that none of us are invincible, so lets enjoy life and live it to the full!!

    Lance was a lovely man: kind, honest and genuine. He will be missed within the industry. He certainly was 'old school', loved his job and was great company.
    One of our oldest cutsomers.
    Great loss.

    Lance will be sadly missed by all that knew him, especially those in the industry that he dedicated so many years to. A real 'fountain of knowledge' and a true gent to go with it! My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

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