Farewell to Rhyl businessman and community stalwart

Reporter:

Suzanne Kendrick

A FORMER garage owner who was devoted to the church and wore a suit, shirt and tie “not just on Sundays, but every day”, has died aged 83.

John Foulds – described by his family as guiding light and a true gentleman – had been living with Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years. He died in the early hours of last Wednesday (August 23).

Mr Foulds, who had seven children – David, Peter, Malley, Gaynor, Angela, Denise and Lorraine – as well as 20 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, was born in Atherton, Greater, Manchester.

He came to live in Rhyl aged five and attended Ysgol Emmanuel.

Between 1952 and 1956, he held the rank of corporal in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Reme). He was stationed in Egypt.

At 19, while on leave from the army, he met Doreen at Bath Street youth club. The couple married on October 8, 1956 at Bath Street Methodist Church.

After leaving the Army, he went to work for Joe Brookes of White Rose Motors, having previously completed an apprenticeship with the business. He went on to work for other local garages.

He and his wife’s first marital home was in Cheltenham Avenue, Rhyl. They moved to Grange Road in 1967 after buying land for John to build his garage, Clifton Service Station, which was later known as Foulds’ garage.

The couple also ran Grange Road Chippy while John built the garage in three stages with the help of friends. The husband and wife also had Grange Laundry, Clifton Cleaners and for a short while, the Morville Hotel in Rhyl.

The garage closed in the early 90s.

Lorraine Baker-Foulds, John’s daughter, said: “He was my hero. Dad was amazing. Nothing was too much trouble.

”He had the biggest and funniest sense of humour and family were extremely important to him. He had a huge personality and helped so many people.

“When he first approached Joe Brookes age 15, Joe said ‘no’ – and dad cried as he needed money. 

“He went on to ask what dad’s name was and when he replied ‘John’, Joe gave him a job as he had lost a son called John. He went on to become a father figure to my dad.

“Church was dad’s life. He was head steward at Bath Street Methodist Church. He also ran the church youth club and was a Sunday school teacher.

”He was always smartly dressed. He was very passionate about charity – he helped raise funds for a scanner in Glan Clwyd hospital and the kidney fund.

“He was involved with Prestatyn and Rhyl Lions club for more than 30 years. He won the Melvin Jones Fellowship and the Bert Mason Humanitarian Award.

”His fundraising was always different. He floated a Mini down the river from Rhyl Harbour to Rhuddlan Castle and did a trial run on Marine Lake. He didn’t ask permission and gave Marine Lake staff heart failure as they thought someone had driven a car into the lake.

“He also grew his hair for a national children’s home.”

A keen gardener and artist, he also created a scheme to help lonely people.

“He came up with an ingenious idea of ‘rent a budgie’, where people were supplied with a cage, food and a budgie,” Lorraine explained.

Mr Foulds also ran a furniture unit in Albert Street Rhyl, for Prestatyn and Rhyl Lions.

He worked closely with Denbighshire County Council, helping to find furniture for the less fortunate.

His daughter recalled how many a time he would be seen with a wardrobe or similar strapped to the top of his green Suzuki Swift car.

His widow, Doreen, said: “He looked after me like a queen. We worked together through thick and thin, I loved him from the day we found each other and always will.”

Lorraine added: “When dad first saw mum at the church disco, mum was sat on the window sill and dad asked her to dance - mum said no. She was playing hard to get. He asked her a little while later and she said yes. Dad treated mum like a princess, she was his world as was he hers.

“I think the community knew dad was a true gent.”

Mr Foulds’ funeral will take place on September 14 at 11.30am at Christ Church, Rhyl.

Email:

suzanne.kendrick@nwn.co.uk

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