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The passing of John Craigie – by Peter Gleave

It is with sadness we report the passing of John Craigie on the 6th June 2020.  John died from bronchopneumonia in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital at the age of 73.

John was born on 11th October 1947 in Norwich and was an only child to his loving parents Nelly and Frank Craigie.  He attended boys school in Watton, Norfolk.

John began his working life in mountain rescue work for a number of years.

He was as a young man very interested in motorcycles and did spend his last years riding his Harley-Davidson.  Because of his interest in bikes it was his ambition to work in this industry.

He eventually was able to secure a salesman’s job with a Thetford based manufacturer of motorcycle helmets called Thetford Moulded Products ltd. This company manufactured Centurion Helmets who were one of if, not the largest supplier of helmets both in the UK and worldwide. John made a success of his job and was soon promoted to Sales Manager for the company.  Under his management and influence sales expanded. His top salesmen were John Flaxman and David Brown.  

In 1983 John Craigie became sales manager for Peter Gleave Distributors Ltd and the wholly owned subsidiary, the Kett manufacturing Company. These companies were leading motorcycle accessories and clothing wholesalers, with warehouses in Stockport, Hoddesdon and Kenton, North London. Peter Gleave Distributors were exclusive distributors of FM Helmets, Boeri Helmets and Driver Italia Helmets. Their vast product range included the exclusive brands of leather clothing made by Fieldsheer, Lewis Leathers and Kett Leathers. They were also distributors of a huge range of spares and accessories.

John was eminently qualified for this demanding position. He had 12 sales representatives under his jurisdiction, including John Flaxman and Dave Brown who both joined the company at the same time as John did. They were both experienced salesman who all held successful sales positions with Centurion Helmets.

John was highly successful and under his leadership, guided the company who went from strength to strength becoming the largest motorcycle wholesalers in the UK.

John was a hands on manager and made friends with suppliers and customers all over the UK. He was a leader and motivator, he had initiative and above all he had drive and ambition. He had what it takes!!

He worked with Peter Gleave Distributors for approximately ten years and the company were very sad to lose him as he decided to set up his own business with David Brown selling very popular glass display cabinets to motorcycle dealers. After many years trading together he and David separated.

Peter Gleave Distributors were members of the Motorcycle Industry Trade Association with whom John played an active roll.  He was a popular member of this Industries bike riding Club.  They had regular the ride outs which John supported for many years. Through this club John made friends with the Captains of the motorcycle industry.

Peter Gleave Distributors were taken over by Wagon Industrial Holdings plc in 1987. John did not get on with the new owners and decided to leave.  He had complete change in direction by deciding to join the prison service and after 6 years he was retired due to ill health.

He subsequently became a member of the Watton Town Council and became it’s mayor a position which his family were very proud of.

John was blessed to leave a large and loving family. He was first married to Pippa and they had two children and six grandchildren.

He then married Glenys in 1998. Glenys had four children and seven grandchildren from a previous marriage.

John will be sadly missed by his family and his countless very many friends within the motorcycle industry, of which I count myself as one.

John was in those days a keen golfer and he, John Flaxman, John Duckworth and myself spent many very enjoyable hours playing all over the UK.  I hasten to add we never let it interfere with business!!

Peter Gleave


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