16.9.1952 – 5.10.2023
The NTDA team and Executive Officers were both shocked and saddened to hear that Jolyon Pope of long-standing NTDA member Merityre Specialists Ltd had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday 5th October.
His career in the Motor Industry started on leaving school when he joined Smiths Industries. After completing a Business Studies degree, he worked for one of their subsidiary companies, Affiliated Factors, before joining one of the family tyre businesses in the late 1970s.
Jolyon worked initially with Paul Lockwood in Popart Exports UK Ltd, then the UK importer for the Ceat Veltro tyre from Italy. Subsequently, Stomil tyres from Poland were added to the mix, and latterly the Toyo car tyre range was introduced by Popart to the UK market. Jolyon covered sales to the West Country and South Wales – he always knew the best pub to stay at as a result of regular visits to his region!
In 1989 Popart was sold to Kirkby Tyres of Liverpool, and, according to his family, Jolyon moved from the “dark side” of tyre wholesale to the brighter activities of tyre retail in Merityre Specialists Ltd, joining his Father, Bill Pope and brother Noel. Bill passed away in 1995, and Jolyon and Noel have directed Merityre ever since.
Jolyon was one of those people with rubber in his blood. Primarily involved as Purchasing Director, he enjoyed the rough and tumble of price negotiations with suppliers. On one occasion, having sat through an interminable presentation on the benefits of a particular tyre, questions were asked for. Jolyon put up his hand and asked – ‘Well, what do they cost’’ He was always a firm believer that if the deal was right and product was good, it would sell, regardless of any targets that might be set.
Alongside this however Jolyon had a constant commitment to do things the right way, whether this was in his negotiations, or ensuring that Merityre’s retail branches provided the best possible service.
His time in the tyre industry was perhaps the heyday of industry trips and Jolyon, with his wife Jennie, visited many exotic places around the world. During these trips they made many friends, as evidenced by the flood of messages received since his untimely death.
Away from work Jolyon was a devoted husband to Jennie, father to Suzannah and James and grandfather to Bonnie and Rory. He had many outside interests – two in particular being beekeeping and dinghy sailing. His aim with his bees was to gather a ton of honey – 2240 jars –a year which were sold from his doorstep in the Hampshire village of Chilbolton. He was secretary of the Tideway Owners Association, a fleet of classic sailing boats with his own, Jolybods, being pristine despite being over 60 years old.
NTDA Chief Executive Officer Stefan Hay said” “Jolyon’s passing came as a big shock to us all here. We have lost another respected character from the tyre industry, another true Master of the Round and Black, one who lived life to the full and who will be sorely missed by his many friends, colleagues and peers in the tyre trade. Our thoughts are with his family and colleagues at Merityre at this very difficult time.”
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