A FAMILY have paid tribute to a 'generous and wonderful' husband and father who lived and breathed Land Rovers.

John Nuttall, affectionately known as The Land Rover Man, died on June 15 at Glan Clwyd Hospital. He was aged 80 and would have turned 81 on June 22.

The former proprietor of Rhyl Tyre and Battery and North Wales Land Rover Centre was married to Beryl. He had two daughters, Sandra, 57, and Stephanie, 54, and was a grandfather and great-grandfather as well a father-in-law to Darren and Ken.

John met his wife Beryl in 1956 at a dance hall in Prestwich, Manchester.

The couple married on September 17, 1960, and were due to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary later this year.

Daughter Stephanie said: “Dad’s parents moved Prestatyn in 1966, as did his auntie and uncle. Many years were spent locally before deciding to buy a business in 1977, Rhyl Tyre & Battery centre, which was formerly located on Greenfield Place in Rhyl [where Matalan now stands].

"During dad’s years in the tyre industry he attended regular meeting of the National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA). He was chairman for one of those years for the North West and North Wales Division.

Rhyl Journal:

Rhyl Tyre and Battery Centre. All pictures: Stephanie Millard

“Part of the business was operating as a toy shop named Lesley’s which my parents ran for a short while also doing a wheelchair loan service, for holiday makers, and one season operating the luggage office on the coach park.

“Land Rovers have always been his passion and as a family, we spent many weekends with like minded people driving their ‘Landy’s’ through mud, water and up and down steep rugged terrain through courses to see who had the greatest driving skills. Dad won many trophies so he was very good at as his hobby.

“It was no surprise when he decided to turn his hobby into a business,” Stephanie added.

“He turned the toy shop into a Land Rover spares business from scratch - North Wales Land Rover.

“This grew rapidly and he supplied garages and individuals across North Wales and surrounding areas, with two to three vans delivering in all directions on a daily basis as well as sending parts out across Great Britain and indeed to many customers around the world.”

Rhyl Journal:

Article in the Journal in September 1995

Stephanie said her father knew most of the part numbers in his head - even until his dying day.

She said: “His knowledge was truly remarkable.

“He lived and breathed Land Rovers - everything had to have a Land Rover badge, it truly was his passion and hobby and business all rolled into one.

“In 1986, dad, along with two other friends and like-minded souls started the North Wales Land Rover Club. This grew and this group is still active today. Hopefully some members will be joining the funeral cortège to honour him as due to Covid, this cannot be done in person.

"Both my parents worked extremely hard and long hours in the business and didn't have a holiday in 25 years. Dad would always open up the shop again if someone arrived, even if he had shut up shop, and was always willing to help anyone in anyway he could.

"He was truly generous wonderful man."

John and Beryl sold the business in 2002 as developers wanted to build Matalan.

Rhyl Journal:

'Motorist business is on the move'. Article featuring John in the Journal

Stephanie added: "The tyre business re-located to Marsh Road and is still operating by the new owners. The Land Rover business moved to Grange Road, however, that folded as I believe the love and knowledge Dad had for it was something no one could purchase.

"Dad and mum went on to join Friends of the Theatre at Rhyl Pavilion where dad became chairman for a while and met many new friends.

“As a family we have received many kind words on our loss but the one which seems to be stated the most is ‘he was a true gentleman’, and this just about sums him up.”

Stephanie said her father could not settle into retirement. Instead, he helped at a printing firm and gave advice to friends in businesses where he could.

She added: "He developed a new hobby for Scammells - three wheeled wagons known a mechanical horses. He took these along to vintage shows to exhibit and played a big part in the Mechanical Horse club for Great Britain as roles as chairman, treasurer and sorted the organising of monthly magazine deliveries nationwide .

"Eventually the Scammells became to much for him to manage and he sold them to someone in Australia.

"Dad still remained an active member of the club and only stopped his involvement in the magazine distribution 18-months ago."

John only ever had one functioning kidney, a fact he found out later in life.

Stephanie said: "This resulted in him having to start dialysis at Glan Clwyd Hospital three times a week for the last four-years. He was collected by staff from Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service (NEPTS).

"They are all such a caring team of people who treated Dad like precious cargo for which we are eternally grateful.

"The banter they shared with both mum and dad helped in days he was not feeling up to par and the love and compassion shown by this team was second to none."

Donations if desired, in memory of John, will be gratefully received towards Friends of the Renal Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital and may be forwarded to the funeral directors Ivor Howatson & Son, Sisson Street, Rhyl.