Ray Grocott (pictured), former owner of Grocontinental and successful Shropshire businessman, has died at the age of 89.
Described by his family and those he worked with as inspiring, kind and generous, Grocott built his business into one of Europe’s most successful independent logistics companies.
Born in Prees, Shropshire in 1934 to parents who ran a cattle haulage business, Grocott soon became his mother’s right hand man after his dad died when he was only five years’ old.
Following national service, he returned to the family firm and he and his mother expanded the business to include other agricultural work, eventually taking over the reins when Nellie Grocott died in 1969.
His next venture, Grocontinental, grew due to Grocott’s can-do, no barriers attitude to business, coupled with an innovative mindset.
After reading that Muller Dairy was considering a move to Market Drayton, he jumped straight on a plane to Bavaria and knocked on the door of its HQ to offer his services.
He duly came away with the work.
Success meant expansion and his son David and daughter Linda eventually joined him at Grocontinental and the business developed a reputation for flexibility and world-class customer service.
When it was sold in 2017 it had grown into a £40m company and employed 450 staff.
- Grocontinental’s profit was up in the year it was bought by AGRO Merchants Group
- Grocontinental puts vehicle in livery of new owner AGRO Merchants on the road
- Grocontinental sold to Dutch firm Agro Merchants Group
Grocott’s philanthropic support extended to a £1m donation to build a new medical centre in Prees when the village surgery was threatened with closure and he provided £800,000 for the building of eight bungalows for older people next to the surgery.
He’d long campaigned for new pensioners’ homes and in the end, he made it happen himself.
Speaking about her father, Linda Grocott said, “Dad will be remembered for the success he achieved in his working life, but we know that he will also be remembered for the support he gave to others through his kindness and generosity.
“Dad never saw barriers in life, just a clear way forward to get the job done, no matter what it was. He was intelligent, positive and always wanted to give people an opportunity and a chance in life.
“He touched the lives of so many people worldwide and was proud to support the staff we employed over the years at Grocontinental.
“In his own words, ‘it’s all about people’.”
When praised for his achievements at Grocontinental, Grocott always acknowledged the contribution of his wife, Rose, who he married in 1956.
Rose died in 2019.
He is survived by his children Ruth, David and Linda, son-in-law Hugues, daughter-in-law Kirsty, Linda’s partner Robin and grandchildren, Louis, Charlie, Alfie, Honor, Minnie, Mia and Natasha.
A Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday 14 October at St Chad’s, Prees at 13.30.
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