CHESTERFIELD: Huge turnout for popular businessman’s funeral

Pictured is the late Ian Vardy who founded estate agent chain Wilkins Vardy.
Pictured is the late Ian Vardy who founded estate agent chain Wilkins Vardy.

MORE than 300 mourners turned out to pay their respects at the funeral of influential businessman and beloved family man Ian Vardy.

The founder of estate agent Wilkins Vardy helped shape the property market in Chesterfield, Bolsover and Clay Cross and his recent death sparked an out-pouring of tributes and over £1,700 worth of donations for the British Heart Foundation charity following his funeral on Friday, June 7, at St John’s Church, Walton, Chesterfield.

Retired Mr Vardy, 69, of Walton, Chesterfield, who was born into a mining family in Bolsover went on to found Wilkins Vardy and despite being a prolific sportsman he sadly suffered heart difficulties and died at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital on May 22.

His widow Hilary said: “There was always fun and laughter with Ian and people said that when he walked into a room he would raise your spirits with a quip or a joke.

“He knew a lot of people. We never went anywhere in Chesterfield and Derbyshire and on trips elsewhere without someone coming up to say hello.

“The funeral service was packed with people sitting, standing and having to listen from outside the church as so many kindly gathered to pay their respects. It was amazing.”

Mr Vardy founded Wilkins Vardy in 1971 and he was a keen sportsman who played for Chesterfield Cricket Club and Chesterfield Rugby Club, had football trials with Aston Villa and ran the first London Marathon.

Mrs Vardy added: “Ian was a very proud dad and step-dad and was always supportive of his son Jonathan with his golf and daughter Rebecca with her show-jumping and always looked out for his grandchildren’s sporting abilities.”

Mr Vardy was also a founder member of Chesterfield Scarsdale Rotary Club and his only regret was that ill-health prevented him from becoming group president.

Wilkins Vardy managing director Neil Hunt described Mr Vardy’s death as an enormous loss but stressed the legacy he left for north Derbyshire carries on.

He said: “His passing is an enormous loss but his legacy lives on. He was a mentor and inspiration and to have known him and to have worked with him was fantastic.”

Mr Vardy also leaves a sister Jennifer, a step-daughter Katherine and step-son Andrew and eight grandchildren.

Mrs Vardy added: “I would like to say a big thank you to all those who have been so caring and supportive and shown such generosity and friendship during this difficult time.”