Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Businessman Dies of 'Mad Cow Disease' Inspirational Leader Was a Role Model

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Businessman Dies of 'Mad Cow Disease' Inspirational Leader Was a Role Model

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair Craig

ANORTH East business executive has died just weeks after being diagnosed with the rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human form of mad cow disease.

Bob Wall, a married father-of-one, was managing director of a division of the highly successful construction firm Esh Group, based in County Durham.

An inquest into the 51-year-old's death is expected to be opened shortly, following his funeral at All Saints' Church in Lanchester, County Durham.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), or 'human BSE', is linked to consuming contaminated beef and came to worldwide prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s as "mad cow disease" swept the UK and Europe.

Just 171 people have died of CJD in Britain up to June this year, after a peak of incidence in 2000. The current average is just a handful of deaths each year.

Mr Wall, from Waterhouses, near Durham city, was the managing director of Deerness Fencing, one of the region's largest manufacturers and installers of timber and metal partitions, with clients including Yuill Homes, UK Coal and local authorities.

The firm is a subsidiary of the Durham-based Esh Group, and was founded in 1976 by Michael Hogan. Mr Hogan, now development director and a major shareholder at Esh Group, last night paid tribute to his former MD, describing him as "an inspirational role model for young business people".

In 2006, Mr Wall accepted a Journal business award on behalf of the firm for its excellent work in the community.

"I have known Bob for some 13 years and, how to give tribute to him, I just don't know where to start," said Mr Hogan.

"What I will say is that as a work colleague he gave 100% and constantly pushed himself for improvement.

"He was a genuine one-off, this level of commitment however was regarded as normal by Bob.

"When he took up the managing director role of Deerness Fencing he improved the business I'd owned and ran for some 20 years beyond all expectations and we as Esh Group will be forever grateful to Bob for this. …

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