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Holiday entrepreneur Jimmy Hoseason dies

PUBLISHED: 11:00 09 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:49 01 August 2010

Jimmy Hoseason

Jimmy Hoseason

Victoria Nicholls

One of the region's most successful and well-known holiday entrepreneurs, Jimmy Hoseason, has died aged 82.

Mr Hoseason spent more than half a century building up his father's holiday business in Norfolk and Suffolk into a multi-million pound company.

Victoria Nicholls

One of the region's most successful and well-known holiday entrepreneurs, Jimmy Hoseason, has died aged 82.

Mr Hoseason spent more than half a century building up his father's holiday business in Norfolk and Suffolk into a multi-million pound company.

Born in 1927 in the Shetlands, James Hoseason grew up in Lowestoft, where his father Wally was the harbourmaster.

A civil engineer by trade, he took over his father's small boatyard after Wally's death. Hoseasons was founded in 1944 by Wally, who started hiring out boats in Oulton Broad as holiday homes on behalf of their owners during a fuel ban because of the Second World War.

In the early days, Hoseasons, a self-catering specialist, handled 200 holidaymakers a year in Norfolk and Suffolk. When Jimmy took over in 1950 the business continued to grow, and by the 1970s it had expanded to let holiday cottages and bungalows across the country and catered for one million holidaymakers a year. Mr Hoseason became a prominent figure in the industry and was made an OBE for his services to tourism before a £22m management buyout of the business saw him retire in 1999.

Mr Hoseason, who lived in Beccles, died on Saturday at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, having suffered from ill health during the past year. He leaves his wife Lesley, and sons Jonathon, Julian and James.

Yesterday, his youngest son paid tribute to him, saying: “He was a driven man when it came to business and his tolerance for mediocrity was absolutely zero. It was one of his greatest motivators. His real passion was flying and it was a huge part of his life. He will be greatly missed.”

Tim Fullam, marketing director of Hoseasons, said: “Jim Hoseason was an icon of the UK tourist industry who will be remembered with both enormous affection and respect by all those who worked with him, many of whom, like me, are still with the company today. His inspired foresight laid the foundation for a business which continues to lead the way in today's highly competitive market place, and which retains the ideologies of customer care and staff welfare and training which were so close to his heart.”

Mr Hoseason co-founded the Waveney Flying Group in 1960 at Seething Airfield. One of the group's directors Mike Page said he would be missed at the club's 50th anniversary celebrations next year. “He was a very normal person, he wasn't posh or anything like that,” he said. “We just called him 'Jim'. He would talk to anyone and got on with everybody - he was so friendly to everyone.”

Mr Page added: “I'd known him since 1960 and we had lots of involvement together with flying. He was still flying with a co-pilot until a couple of weeks ago.”

Mr Hoseason was involved in establishing the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library at Norwich's Forum to commemorate the American airmen who were stationed in the region during the Second World War, and wrote a book, 'The 1000 Day Battle' on the subject. He was also a patron of Waveney Stardust, a charity which offers motorcruiser trips to elderly and disabled people.

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