We have received the sad news that UK rental industry veteran John Jennings passed away earlier today following two years of ill health, he was 71.
Jennings was a director and former chairman of Coventry based Clements Plant & Access Hire, he retired last year as his cancer became harder to live with. As part that hand process he sold his stake in the business that he formed and managed before acquiring it in 2007
He was born near Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire, and spent his formative years in Stratford on Avon joining the locally based International Harvester dealer - Lumley Saville -as an apprentice in the publicity department. Launching what was to become a life-long involvement in the equipment business. In the mid 1960’s he joined Coventry based rental company Sterling Plant, which became the first company to offer tool hire in the city.
In the late 1970’s he and a colleague set up a new business based in Rugby, Alljay Tool Hire, which they built up over many years, eventually selling the business to local property developer, the Deeley group in 1990. Deeley merged it with Clements Plant - which it had owned since 1967 - renaming it Clements Alljay.
Jennings remained with the business as managing director of the merged company, within the Deeley group. The company expanded into the self-propelled access market in 1996 with the acquisition of Thumb-a-Lift of Leamington Spa, and then in January 2007 he led a Management Buy Out with his new business partner Jim Longstaff.
Jennings was also a founder member of the UK based Hire Association of Europe and was the last of the founding members to have an involvement in the industry. He eventually retired due to ill-health in May last year, just before his 70th birthday. Since then he has retained an involvement with the business, often spending time in the office to hear how things were going.
Over the years he wrote many specialist articles for industry magazines, and sat on several committees including the IPAF Council, and the HAE. He also worked with manufacturers to provide a rental-company perspective for their product development. His private passions included photography, steam trains and most important of all his family. He leaves behind three daughters and eight grandchildren. His family was with him this week as it became clear that the end was approaching.
John Jennings was not everyone’s cup of tea and had a certain orneriness to him at times, especially when he passionately disagreed about something, this made him an admirable IPAF committee member and possibly the bane of several committee chairmen? However he was always straight forward, genuine knowledgeable and fair. He could occasionally also light up a room when he was happy, or he wholeheartedly agreed with you, showing it with a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He certainly qualifies as an ‘industry character’ and will be missed by a great many in the access and UK rental business, most of all by the team at Clements of course. Our hearts go out to his family at this sad time.
The funeral arrangements are as follows:
11:00 am Friday 25th November
Ullesthorpe Congregational Church
And afterwards at:
Chequers Country Inn