Former White & Farrell MD passes away

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Monday 14 October 2019

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The former managing director of Hull printer White & Farrell has passed away at the age of 63, following a short illness.

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Steve Dennis spent his entire working life at White & Farrell

Steve Dennis, who died on 4 October at his home in Beverley, spent his entire working life at the family-owned company, starting in 1973 at the age of 17 as assistant to the managing director at the time, Tom Watson.

While the company began in 1889 as a printer and bookshop, by the time Dennis had joined it had started to specialise in producing technical information booklets and advertising and marketing materials.

The company had extensive finishing and bookbinding departments and was also producing a range of flooring sample and pattern cards plus stationery products such as ring binders, wallets and pockets.

In 1980 Dennis was offered a position on the board, which he accepted, and he became a director. One of his first jobs was to make the change from casting lead type to film typesetting.

Dennis subsequently became managing director of White & Farrell in 1991 and in 1993 he and another director, Chris Sendall, approached the shareholders of the company, which consisted of 21 of the extended families of the Whites and Farrells. After talks lasting a year, in 1994 the ownership of the company was transferred to the pair.

The decision was taken to close the business in 2015. Floods that had hit its operations in 2007 had had a long-lasting effect on the business and economic pressures had also started to take their toll, with demand for the company's products falling.

Dennis took early retirement but had quipped “a little longer would have been nice”.

Dennis also played an important role in the industry's Young Master Printer (YMP) organisation and then regionally with the BPIF Regional Board for many years.

B&B Press consultant Dan Dean described Dennis as “a perpetually optimistic person with a great love of the print industry in general”.

“Print industry stalwarts are often described as having ink in their veins and this has never been more true than when applied to Steve.

“I knew Steve as a friend and supplier for many years and as a supplier both he and White & Farrell were friendly and professional.

“He will be sadly missed by family and friends in the print industry, where he spent his whole working life.”

Outside work, Dennis’ hobbies included restoring and then hill climbing classic TVR sports cars, “with some considerable success in his class” according to Dean.

Dennis is survived by his wife Bridget and his two daughters Rachel and Emily.

His funeral will be held on Thursday (17 October) at 1.30pm at Haltemprice Crematorium HU10 6NS, with a memorial afterwards at The Millhouse, Beverley Road, Skidby HU16 5TF. All are welcome. Family flowers only but donations can be made to Macmillan and Marie Curie.

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