George Perry tributes: Quarry boss drove firm to greater things
Former quarry firm boss and keen sportsman George “Georgie” Perry, known for his sense of fun, has died, aged 85.
For many years he was chairman and managing director of Morris & Perry, based at Gurney Slade near Shepton Mallet, Somerset. The firm’s green-and-yellow lorries are a familiar sight on the county’s roads.
Known for his generosity, Mr Perry was always willing to help young would-be entrepreneurs and local charities, while his impish sense of humour won him the nickname ‘Just William’.
He was a keen cricketer, rugby fan and golfer, and a fine game shooter, known as one of the best shots in the South West. He was a member of the prestigious ‘A’ team formed by the late Charles Church, of Roundway, Micheldever, as well as being a member of a number of other shooting syndicates.
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He was a lover of racing and at one time owned racehorses, with his wife, Trisha. He was a member of Yeovil Golf Club to which he donated the George Perry Challenge Cup, and had played cricket for Yeovil. The Perry, Keevil and Stephens families also formed their own cricket and skittles teams.
He was a life vice-president and life member of Ivel Barbarians Rugby Club.
Mr Perry was born at Red Barn Farm, Egford, near Frome, the middle boy of a farming family. His father, Jack, was an invalid and Mr Perry farmed with his brothers before going to work for quarry owner Sidney Morris, based at Chilthorne Domer, near Yeovil. The firm later expanded, and at Mr Perry’s suggestion bought the quarry at Gurney Slade. He also had interests in a plant hire company in Dorset.
Mr Perry’s family had been involved in farming for generations – his grandfather Maurice farmed the land which is now Lyde Road estate in Yeovil – and Mr Perry continued to farm for some years, at one time rearing beef for Waitrose.
He was a member of the former Yeovil Rural District Council, where his motto was: “people before politics”. He had also been a member of Yeovil Rotary Club.
His favourite charity was St Margaret’s Somerset Hospice. In the past he had provided a mini-bus for the rugby club then based at Johnson Park, and it was much-used by the club’s youngsters. He loved travelling and at one time he and his wife had a second home in Spain.
During his time in Yeovil Hospital, where he died, he was amused to think that his firm was responsible for pouring the first concrete for the hospital’s foundations in the early 1970s.
His wife, Trisha Cook-Perry, recently retired deputy chairman of South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates Court said: “so many people have rung to say what a lovely man George was. He was a great sportsman with a tremendous sense of fun. I can remember a cricket match at Chilthorne Domer where he did a hand stand because he had bowled someone out or something. He stayed standing on his head and hands and everyone howled with laughter.
“Second best was never good enough for him, but he was also a real people person.
“His nickname, ‘Just William’ absolutely sums him up.”
A date for the funeral service has yet to be confirmed.