COLIN Frederick Smales, who has died at the age of 76, was a former company chairman and head of one of the UK’s largest independent fish wholesaling and processing businesses.
For many years, he headed the Hull–based company, F Smales & Son (Fish Merchants) Ltd, which he took over from his father Tim who founded the business in 1937.
Born in the same year, Mr Smales joined the industry in 1953 and had an involvement in the fish industry for 60 years. Rapid growth took place under his control in the 1960s and 70s and it was incorporated in 1973 when the company moved from the old St Andrew’s Dock to its own fish processing factory in Hull.
During the 1970s, Mr Smales was a pioneer in introducing high quality ‘frozen at sea’ fillets, to UK fish and chip shops. They have become the preferred fish product used in the UK’s fish and chip sector.
In his early years, Colin Smales was a keen amateur footballer and won many caps for England Schoolboys before deciding to enter the family business rather than turn professional.
He was well known for his charity work in Hull being on both the Hull Fish Trade’s Boy’s Club and Hull Fish Merchants’ Dance Committees. He derived took great pleasure in seeing his football team Hull City, which he supported all his life, reach the FA Cup Final
One of his proudest moments was when Princess Diana opened his Company’s new fish processing factory on Witty Street in Hull in 1992. .
Mr Smales was instrumental in establishing the c business into one of the most respected wholesalers to the fish and chip sector.
The company, which has always retained its Hull roots and family ownership, currently employs 250 people, the majority based in the East Yorkshire city. The company now sources fish from all over the world to meet demand.
Mr Smales is survived by his wife Sheilagh and five children. The company is now run by the third generation of the family with Lee and Simon Smales at the helm. The family involvement is expected to continue into the fourth generation.
In later years, Mr Smales suffered with ill-health but it never diminished his enthusiasm for the business and the industry. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, employees past and present, as well as his many business contacts.