Banbury-born business man, tireless campaigner and fundraiser dies

Jack Friswell OBE
Jack Friswell OBE

Jack Friswell OBE who has been a life long supporter of all things Banbury has died.

Mr Friswell was born in Banbury and spent all his life in the town. He wore many different caps during his life but always succeeded in each venture.

He started and built up his own successful steel business on Merton Street, Friswells of Banbury Ltd.

He was also a magistrate, a borough council leader, an alderman, the town mayor, the deputy lieutenant for Oxfordshire, president of Banbury’s rugby and Rotary clubs and an unrivalled fundraiser.

Over the course of his life and through countless campaigns and appeals Mr Friswell raised a staggering £5million for various local causes, as patron of the St Mary’s Church appeal, fervent supporter of the Save the Horton campaign and chairman of the Fine Lady on a White Horse committee among countless others.

Mr Friswell was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1980 but an even prouder moment came in 2006 when he became the first person to become an Honorary Burgess of Banbury, the equivalent of being awarded freedom of the town, the town which he loved.

Upon being presented with his medallion and certificate Mr Friswell said at the time: “This is a wonderful day for me, one I shall remember. It is a great honour.”

Underlining the rarity and significance of the presentation the then councillor John Colegrave said: “This is not an annual honour, it is an event that will happen only very infrequently.

“Jack is the first and we are very proud to bestow it on him.

“It’s a mark of our appreciation for the work he has done in Banbury over his long life and devotion to the town.

“He has left a real mark through his business, civic and charitable work.”

Current leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon said: “Jack had tremendous energy and enthusiasm and Banbury would be much the poorer without his efforts.

“There was a time when St Mary’s Church needed £300,000 for urgent repairs and Jack raised the money in a matter of days.”

Cllr Mallon added: “He was one of Banbury’s most well-respected citizens and will be remembered for his lifelong devotion to the town.”