We paused on Friday 17th April to remember our former colleague and friend Noel Kelleway, who was cremated at a private family funeral last week having sadly passed away on 3 March at the age of 68 after a short illness.
We look forward to paying our respects to Noel at a memorial service to be planned at a later date, but for now we wanted to pay tribute to his life and career.
Noel was a larger than life character, totally focused on service to clients and the community at large. He attended Westcliff High School for Boys and remained involved with the school throughout his life. Many of his friends, clients and colleagues had made a lifelong connection with Noel whilst at the school. His warm nature, personality and smile made Noel a very memorable and popular person.
Noel joined the firm of Rickard Porter in 1972 after a short spell in the Army and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW in 1975. After a short time with Touche Ross (now part of Deloitte) in London, he returned to “Rickards” in 1977 and became a partner in the firm in 1978, where he remained until retiring in 2016.
He was incredibly well known amongst the local business community, and his presence had a significant impact in making Rickard Luckin the firm it is today. Noel always exhibited the firm’s values of passionate, personal and professional and is so fondly thought of by his former colleagues, clients and friends.
Noel spent much of his time giving back to the community by volunteering for many local charities, clubs, associations and other good causes. Something that he was recognised for last year when he was awarded a Citizen of Southend Sir Teddy Taylor Award for his 40 years serving the community.
Noel prepared the original business plan for Fair Havens Hospice and was instrumental in advising the founder on the financial aspects of its establishment. He continued supporting the charity and helped launch the Southend Half Marathon in 1996 which has raised over a million pounds for the charity.
Noel was a keen runner himself, having completed 39 marathons to raise funds for South Essex charities, and had a passion for rugby through his association with Westcliff Rugby Club for over 50 years.
Noel was a family man and leaves behind his wife, Sheila, daughters Rachel and Sarah and son James along with five grandchildren. Our deepest condolences go out to them, and to the many friends, colleagues, clients and contacts who will miss Noel dearly.
‘’I first met Noel in 1980, when Hartley Keen merged with Rickard Porter to become Rickard Keen. Over the subsequent 40 years we were colleagues, business partners and friends. Noel styled himself as the “Rhino of Nelson Street”, not because of his bulk, but because he was thick skinned and charged a lot! In reality he had many qualities, but I would single out his kindness and generousness. His time spent raising funds for charitable causes is well known. Our children are of similar ages and I remember many family get-togethers. When our children were very young, we combined a family holiday in Malta while attending an MGI European Meeting. Our wives, Angela & Sheila were able to accompany us to the functions in the evening, while Noel’s niece babysat. Noel was on the MGI international committee at the time, and this started my lifelong involvement with the international accountancy network. On another trip to Oslo to review the Norwegian member, we witnessed the midnight sun and 24 hours of daylight. Noel helped me prepare for my first skiing lesson when I was 25 and in those early days I remember several trips to Austria with Noel and his great friend, Ian Croxford, when we skied from 8.30am until 5pm every day. I struggled to keep up in those days and was exhausted by the end of each day. I eventually got the hang of skiing, it became one of my great passions and Noel and I have been co-owners of a small ski apartment in Belle Plagne, in the French Alps for many years. I will miss his cheeky smile, energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun.’’ Alan Worsdale, Director Rickard Luckin.
“Noel and I were colleagues for 40 years. He was a business mentor and a friend and my resultant partnership in the firm was thanks in no small part to Noel. He provided me with much support when I lost Debbie 25 years ago. His idea of therapy for me was to go running and we ended up running many marathons together. I shall find it difficult to watch the London Marathon in the future without thinking of Noel. He had a great sense of humour and fun, was often infuriatingly stubborn but always kind and immensely generous. I still can’t quite believe he’s gone.“ Bill Gould, Director at Rickard Luckin.
“Noel Kelleway was a man whose reputation preceded him. Upon meeting him he would be chivalrous and generous by nature. Talking to him, he was knowledgeable, articulate and witty. His sense of humour was a big part of his personality, and half-way through what might appear to be a serious conversation, one would catch the glint in his eye and realise you’ve been slowly reeled into one of his wind ups. A real character indeed.” Janis Osborne, Managing Director at Rickard Luckin
“Noel had time for everyone and was a fantastic teacher and mentor, he would keenly offer his years of wisdom and had a huge part in me (and many others) having a successful career. He was firm but fair, and could strike fear into a younger me with a raise of an eyebrow, but his playful and fun nature always made me feel at ease and I learnt an awful lot from him. Noel would continue to visit the office regularly after his retirement and was always keen to help ensure that we were looking after his clients as well as he did for so many years. His shoes are certainly big shoes to fill as he was held in such high regard by all those he dealt with. We miss him but his influence will live on in the firm for many years to come.” Jamie Nice, Director at Rickard Luckin.
“Noel was a true ‘Havens Hero’ and the perfect example of someone dedicated to our cause. Noel’s contribution to Havens Hospices has been invaluable. We are incredibly sad that he has died, but we will ensure that his legacy lives on within this charity.” Louise Gloyne, Head of Philanthropy at Havens Hospices.
“Noel was heavily involved for many years with the Old Westcliffian Association, and was a well-known figure around the borough, raising large amounts for good causes through his marathon running, which he still undertook until recently. The club owes a huge debt to Noel, and we will miss him greatly.” A tribute on the Westcliff Rugby club’s website.
“Noel never forgot that Westcliff High School for Boys, its teachers and friends he made during his time here played a significant part in shaping him. He believed that the purpose of life was to help others and that translated into his support for his School and its pupils. We will miss him greatly.” Mike Skelly, Head Teacher at Westcliff High School for Boys.
These are just a few of the many kind words and warm thoughts from colleagues and friends that have been received since Noel’s passing, underlying and honouring the impact he has clearly had on so many people’s lives. Our deepest condolences go out to Noel’s family and friends at this difficult time.
Jamie Nice, Director, Rickard Luckin
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