Obituary: Erl Thornewill 1938 – 2008
“The fixer”
(Rollestonian Article - Summer 2008)

Erl was born in Tutbury and attended local schools before going to Burton Technical College to study for an apprenticeship. He started work for his father at Gane’s the former ironmongers at the bottom of High Street in Tutbury. This was followed by National Service in the Royal Tank Corps where he became a tank driving instructor.

Erl was a keen sportsman all his life, playing football and cricket locally and also appearing in the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Championships.

The Church always played a major role in Erl’s life and at the age of 16 he first met his wife, Ann, daughter of the Rev. Tunnadine, Vicar of Tutbury. They married on completion of National Service, moving first to Barton under Needwood, where Mark was born, and then to Rolleston in 1964 when Paul appeared.

Early in his career Erl formed a fencing company with his brother, Roger, about which many tales are told but this was Erl’s launching pad into senior marketing and sales positions in some of the UK’s largest civil engineering companies.

Erl’s political career began in 1984 when he represented Rolleston on East Staffordshire District Council and the Dove Ward on Staffordshire Borough Council. He became leader of ESDC from 1986 to 1990 and was involved in the Hawkins Lane industrial development, the Brewhouse Arts Centre, Shobnall Leisure Complex and Uttoxeter Racecourse projects.

Erl never stood around and his desire to get things done could sometimes make him appear forceful and abrasive, a feature that he readily acknowledged. He was also a man of great generosity, with the many contacts that he had made he usually found a way to assist in any perceived need or request. He was a benefactor to several village organisations, the Scout Group and St Mary’s where he was a long serving member of the PCC and a Churchwarden, in particular. Some Rolleston projects might not be quite so cheap in future!

We send our sympathy to Erl’s wife, Ann and family

Return to Home Page or Memory Lane

© This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 1 June 2008