John Jennings 1945-2016

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.
John Jennings

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
Manor Road,
Nr. Lutterworth
LE17 5BN

And afterwards at:
Chequers Country Inn
Main Street,
Nr. Lutterworth
LE17 5BT

Mourners are requested to park at the Chequers and walk down to the chapel.
Those wishing to attend please e-mail Jim Longstaff: mailto: jiml@clementsplant.co.uk


Roger Bowden
So sad to hear of John’s passing. A good friend for over 30 years, supportive, pragmatic, highly knowledgeable and excellent company he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and colleagues at this difficult time.

Nov 15, 2016

So sad!
A man with a parallel career to my own with whom I had only distant contact but nevertheless looked up to with respect for his judgement and professionalism. He was one of the genuine contributors to our industry.

Nov 11, 2016

I am sure that Johns passing will be devastating for his family, but perhaps the postings on Vertikal will give them some comfort, knowing how highly regarded he was by both friend and foe! Our thoughts go to all at Clements, many who will have known John for longer than many of us. A poignant day, and a legend of a man. There are not many that will be held in the same esteem left in the industry.

Nov 11, 2016

Jim Longstaff
John was a character. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes infuriating, but always entertaining. For those that took the time to listen he talked a great deal of sense which came from years of direct hands-on experience. He enjoyed analysing the industry deeply and was vocal in some of the senseless over-priced acquisitions or obtusely cheap hire rates being offered around.
Without John's help and guidance I would not have owned Clements and I owe him a massive debt of gratitude. 'Industry Character' is a very apt way to describe him and they are now few and far between.

Nov 11, 2016

I first met John well over 20 years ago when I first joined Niftylift, I was warned "be careful he's a great friend of Roger Bowden (Chairman of Niftylift) treat him with kid gloves."
From our first meeting it was obvious not the kind of relationship we were going to have. I've lost countless hours talking over his desk drinking endless cups of tea and more beers in various pubs than I would like to remember.
I remember thanking John a few years ago for this help, friendship and advice, only for him to answer " well if I'd know how well Niftylift were going to get on I would have charged you for it"!
I just wish I'd said at the time , "You can't charge us for your help friendship and advice because it's Priceless"
John Jennings a true Gentleman of the industry

Nov 11, 2016

Martin Davies
John was a straight talking man and some people had a problem with his honest and direct opinions. I always found John to be a fair man and enjoyed his company and respected his knowledge of both the general plant and access rental industries. A true character in every sense of the word. Rest In Peace John.

Nov 11, 2016
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