Fond memories of Banbury businessman

Charles Swain was well known in Banbury and died on February 17 aged 92. NNL-160203-130114001
Charles Swain was well known in Banbury and died on February 17 aged 92. NNL-160203-130114001

Well-known businessman and popular member of Banbury’s community, Charles Swain, has died aged 92.

Mr Swain died peacefully at the Horton General Hospital on February 17 and his funeral was held at Adderbury Parish Church on Tuesday.

A loving husband, step-father, grandfather and great-grandfather, Mr Swain was born in 1923 and grew up and went to school in Adderbury.

He started work as an apprentice at a local electrical company where he carried out domestic, farms commercial and some industrial electrical installations.

He joined the Air Defence Cadet Corps in 1937 and in 1941, when he was 18, he joined the RAF, where his initial training was at Blackpool and then at RAF Henlow in Hertfordshire.

He then joined 50 Squadron at RAF Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire, where he was in the electrical section of the Ground crew.

He formed his first company CJ Swain Ltd in 1971 and expanded by starting a plumbing and heating company CJ Swain Mechanical Services Ltd.

In 1975 with his son, Chris, from his first marriage, and Roger Fletcher, they started Menvier Electronic Engineers Ltd, as manufacturers of emergency lighting equipment and, from 1984, fire alarms.

The business expanded from three people in an attic to employing more than 400 people.

In 1990, Mr Swain became national president of the Electrical Contractors Association for the year, travelling all over the UK and Europe, speaking at meetings, events and dinners.

He joined the Rotary Club of Banbury in 1969, being club president from 1981 to 82, and was a Freemason for 54 years.

Over the years Mr Swain was also involved with many major fundraising initiatives in Banbury, including St Mary’s Church and the A&E building and scanner for the hospital.

He was a supporter of Adderbury Park Football Club, chairman of the village’s parish council and was married to his second wife Pauline for more than 20 years until her death three years ago.