Remembering Robin Sturgess
6th May 2019 Paul Andrews
Robin Sturgess, who served as 3rd Generation Chairman of the Leicester based Sturgess Motor Group, passed away on 26th March. He leaves behind a great family business legacy.
Robin was born in 1933 and spent his early life in Leicestershire first in Hoby, and latterly Ashby Folville with his parents and sister Gillian.
Educated at Stoneygate School in Leicester and the King’s School Canterbury, friendships made at both establishments were lifelong.
He started his working life with a technical apprenticeship at the Rover Company’s Tyseley factory in 1951, and following demob from National Service in 1957, where he served with the Cavalry regiment the 3rd Carbonniers he joined the family business as a Service Receptionist.
1958 saw him get the motor racing bug, starting with a Jaguar XK120 and progressing to a C-Type two years later. However, it was with E-Types that he became synonymous, These cars wore the distinctive registration number 2 BBC, serving their weekday roles as company demonstrators and then acquitting themselves well on the circuits of Silverstone, Mallory Park and Snetterton at the weekends.
The 1962 season was undoubtedly his most successful with 12 1st places out of 22 starts and no retirements. Frankly, he could not afford to retire as he had to drive the car home! Unsurprisingly all of his ex-racers still exist and lead active lives on and off the track.
Following the birth of his first son, Christopher, he gradually curtailed his racing activities with a final flourish in a Lotus 22.
Robin then threw all his energy into the family business progressing through Sales Director, Managing Director and finally Chairman in 1982.
In addition to the family business Robin also turned his attentions to the motor trade 'aftermarket' and established Robin Sturgess Accessories during the 1960s, from a modest shop in Leicester, with his old friend Chris Mitchell. RSA flourished during the 1960’s and 70’s representing brands like Cibie, Motolita and Les Leston amongst many others and continued to grow until it was eventually sold in the early 1980’s.
Robin continued an active business life and saw the Sturgess Motor Group acquire a number of further franchises, all based in the City of Leicester. Throughout his busy working life, he was a member of the City of Leicester Rotary Club, supporting the work of the organization for over 40 years.
Robin finally retired from the family business in 2008 when his sons Chris and Barney became Chairman and Managing Director respectively.
Robin’s other life-long passion was field sports which started when he acquired his first horse at the age of 14 whilst still at school in Canterbury. Robin’s early hunting life was spent with the Quorn Hunt however it was with the Cottesmore which he was devoted and served for many years on its committee and as Chairman on two occasions.
His post retirement life was never dull, spending time with family and friends, involvement in many charities, the active support of the Cottesmore Hunt (even after he was forced, through repeated injury to stop riding), exploring different parts of the world or simply relaxing in what he described as “his little corner of paradise” on the island of Menorca.
Robins’ final days were at home in the peaceful Rutland countryside, surrounded by his children Chris, Polly and Barney. Robin also leaves 7 grandchildren.
Sturgess Motor Group has a long-established history as a leading car dealer in Leicestershire. The company was originally founded in 1897 by Walter E. Sturgess when he set up a small shop in the West End of Leicester manufacturing, selling and servicing bicycles known as W.E. Sturgess & Sons.
Since 1897, Sturgess Motor Group has grown to become one of the oldest family-operated motor dealers in the UK and also one of the most respected names in UK motor retailing.
With a strong reputation for outstanding customer service in the local community and a reputation as a leading motor retailer in the wider community, Sturgess Motor Group has been a trusted name for more than 120 years.