JCB family announces death of Marjorie Bamford
Marjorie Bamford, widow of JCB founder Joe Bamford, died peacefully at her home close to the JCB headquarters in Rocester in the early hours of Christmas Day morning. She was 85.
Flags at JCB factories worldwide have been flying at half mast as a mark of respect for the first lady of the largest privately owned company in Britain.
Mrs Bamford helped to develop the company from its humble beginnings in a lock-up garage in Uttoxeter with her husband, Joseph Cyril Bamford, during the 1940s.
The couple married in 1942 and had two sons, Mark and Anthony. Anthony, now Sir Anthony Bamford, chairman of JCB, paid tribute to his mother whom he said was "the driving force" behind the business which has grown into a multi-million pound empire. "As one of the founders of the company, my mother played an immensely important role in the early days of JCB," he said. "She worked long, hard hours and her contribution certainly ensured JCB prospered and grew into the international company it is today."
In the early days, Marjorie played a hands-on role in the running of the company. As well as investing financially in the business, she would also take her young son, Anthony, in his carrycot on frequent trips in an Austin A40 pick-up to Birmingham to collect paint, spare parts and components.
In 1975, Mrs Bamford and her husband, Joseph, separated after he started a relationship with former typist Jayne Ellis.
Although the couple never divorced, Mr Bamford moved to Switzerland where he lived with Ellis until his death in March, 2001, at the age of 84.
In his will, Mr Bamford left almost everything to his lover, causing a long and arduous legal battle with the familiy contesting the details of the will.
Mrs Bamford was born in Rocester in 1918 and remained a director of JCB up until her recent death.