Philip Duxbury

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PHILIP Duxbury, who has died aged 82, had been managing director of Magnet & Southerns Plc, having come up through the company and served on the main board for 30 years. He travelled around the country and was instrumental in opening numerous new branches. The turnover grew so rapidly that in 1984 the company entered the FTSE 100.

Philip Thomas Duxbury was born in Bingley and went to Bradford Grammar School. Impatient to leave school, he did so when he was 16, going to work for Magnet Joinery where he would remain for the next 40 years.

In the early 1900s, his father Tom Duxbury had swapped his horse for the small Magnet Firelighter company, and thereafter it grew rapidly by concentrating on manufacturing standardised window frames, and in 1936 was floated on the Stock Market.

Philip married Katherine Hagley from Grassington in 1952, and they went to live in Birmingham where he managed the Magnet factory for 10 years.

In 1962 the family, now with three boys, moved back to Yorkshire as Magnet was planning to build a new factory in Keighley to meet the needs of an ever-expanding business.

In the early 70s, Magnet Joinery merged with Southern Evans to become Magnet & Southerns Plc.

In 1980 Philip also became a director of the Bradford and Bingley Building Society, becoming chairman in 1988. Under his guidance through organic growth and mergers it became one of the UK’s largest building societies.

He described himself as a career businessman, but in addition to his many business interests he found time for numerous causes: he served as a Keighley councillor, was instrumental in the founding of the Yorkshire Clinic, sitting on the board for many years, and was an active governor of Rydal School in Wales for over 30 years; he supported and helped the Keighley Sea Cadets, and throughout his life was very involved with the village of East Morton, in particularly the Congregational Chapel.

Even after retirement, Philip kept up his business interests, especially in property development, its opportunities and challenges having appealed to him all his working life.

His last major project was the refurbishment of the Congregational Chapel in East Morton; he was very committed to the building having worshipped there all his life.

Happiest with his family around him, he was known affectionately by his grandchildren as Popsie.

Philip Duxbury is survived by his wife Katherine – it would have been their 59th wedding anniversary this April – their three sons Paul, Simon and Stephen, and six grandchildren.