Tony Cherry

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TONY Cherry, who has died of cancer at the age of 46, was a businessman whose life became increasingly focused on promoting the aims of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Understanding the important role in the overall economy played by the owners of small firms, Mr Cherry vigorously campaigned on their behalf so that their contribution should be appreciated, and measures taken to help them.

Born and brought up in Shiregreen, Sheffield, he was the middle of three children, their father Roy Cherry having a bakery business.

He went straight from Chaucer School to become a baker in his father’s business, but he was to give up that trade, becoming a graphic designer, and later, a wholesaler of arts and crafts materials.

Some 15 years ago, he joined the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and his enthusiasm was such that he rose through the ranks quickly, becoming chairman of the Sheffield branch, secretary then chairman of the South and East Yorkshire region, and in 2010 he was elected National Vice-chairman.

His great contribution to the FSB is recognised in his innovative approach to developing future strategy. This enabled him to drive forward plans for new engagement with the business community.

Among his successes were many pioneering projects, not least of which was the “Keep Trade Local” initiative, which was one of the FSB’s longest-running and most successful campaigns.

Mr Cherry represented the FSB on a number of statutory and public bodies, committees and forums, the energy and hours he devoted to all the work associated with his commitment to the Federation demanding many career sacrifices.

Very much concerned for the interests of entrepreneurs and the success of the local economy, he was elected to the executive board of the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly, on which he chaired the Education and Skills Commission.

In addition to his support for businesses, Mr Cherry also managed to find the time to play important roles within the wider community, having been a past chair of governors at Phillimore Primary School, a trustee and director of Attercliffe and Darnall Community Enterprises, and Governor of the Yorkshire and Humber Sports Aid Foundation.

His father died just before Christmas. Mr Cherry is survived by his mother Janet, his sister Terry, his younger brother Robert, and three nieces.

His funeral is to be held at 1.15pm on Thursday, February 16, at Grenoside Crematorium, Sheffield.