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Sir Jack Petchey whose foundation serves London and Essex celebrates 95th birthday

PUBLISHED: 12:30 19 July 2020

Sir Jack Petchey is 95 today (JUly 19). Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

Sir Jack Petchey is 95 today (JUly 19). Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

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Sir Jack Petchey who founded a business empire and youth charity is 95 today.

Sir Jack Petchey grew up in Plaistow and Manor Park in Newham. Picture: Jack Petchey FoundationSir Jack Petchey grew up in Plaistow and Manor Park in Newham. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

Born in 1925, business mogul Sir Jack grew up in Plaistow and Manor Park, Newham, in humble beginnings.

He left school at 13 to work for a greengrocer’s. At 17 he joined the Royal Navy where he learned skills in maths, algebra and geometry, and was put forward for officer training.

But three months in he didn’t get through the selection process. Instead he was transferred to the aviation branch of the Royal Navy.

He was discharged from the navy in January 1947 with only a small fee to pay his rent. Sir Jack returned to his former job as an office boy at the Solicitor’s Law Stationery Society.

Petchey Holdings manages a commercial portfolio which includes more than four million sq. ft. of industrial properties and over 350 flats in central London. Picture: Jack Petchey FoundationPetchey Holdings manages a commercial portfolio which includes more than four million sq. ft. of industrial properties and over 350 flats in central London. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

Sir Jack asked to be trained as a manager only to be told he was “not management material”.

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Rather than accept rejection, he handed in his notice and decided to set up a business on his own.

Faced with no income and a need to pay his way, Sir Jack bought an old car and used it to start a taxi service business, returning soldiers home from the docks into central London.

Sir Jack with his knighthood. Picture: Jack Petchey FoundationSir Jack with his knighthood. Picture: Jack Petchey Foundation

The company expanded as he acquired a fleet of cars to hire, before realising that selling cars was more profitable. He established a chain of garages and, after a short while, realised that selling properties was more profitable than that.

Sir Jack first embarked in the property business in 1954. His venture rapidly grew into Petchey Holdings which now manages a commercial portfolio which includes over four million sq. ft. of industrial properties and more than 350 flats in central London.

Sir Jack established the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999, a grant giving organisation that funds a variety of opportunities for young people across London and Essex.

The foundation celebrates its 21st birthday this year and has to date invested more than £133million in programmes to benefit young people aged 11-25 across the region.

Looking back on his life, Sir Jack believes his greatest investment has been in young people and the work of the Jack Petchey Foundation.


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