A larger than life character
PUBLISHED: 13:51 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:55 06 May 2010
ONE of the area s best known businessmen and public figures died at the weekend. John Jordan, pioneer of the Jordans grain empire in Biggleswade, passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at his family home in the town. He was 84. Hours before he died he
ONE of the area's best known businessmen and public figures died at the weekend.
John Jordan, pioneer of the Jordans grain empire in Biggleswade, passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at his family home in the town. He was 84.
Hours before he died he had spent the afternoon with family and friends visiting the Shuttleworth Collection of aircraft at Old Warden, a place he loved, being an experienced aviator himself.
Mr Jordan was born on November 29, 1921. He grew up next to his father's mill in St Neots Road, Sandy, and was educated at Wellingborough School.
He trained as a flour miller at Reads of Norwich and in his spare time his love of speed was reflected in his cars and motorbikes.
His lifelong interest in aviation began after a flight in an aircraft with Richard Shuttleworth, pilot and founder of the Shuttleworth Collection.
When war broke out in 1939 Mr Jordan joined the RAF and went into the Air Transport Auxiliary delivering aircraft from factories to operational airfields.
By the end of the war Mr Jordan had flown practically every combat aircraft in service with the RAF.
After the war he spent many years flying at air displays with a SI Pitts Special and a Boeing Stearman. He was a stunt double for Baron von Stalhein in the 1985 film Biggles. He continued his love of aerobatic flying into his 70s and logged over 23,000 hours in the air.
A keen sportsman, particularly rugby as well as motor racing, he helped set up Biggleswade Rugby Club on the Langford Road and continued to play until he was 55. As chairman of the club he immersed himself in events at the club.
He also owned and raced many sports cars including a Ford GT40 two McClaren M6Bs and formula 5000 vehicles at Snetteron, Thruxton and Silverstoine, where he held the lap record for several years.
It was after World War II that he took over his grandfather's run down flour mill Holme Mills in Biggleswade and built an animal feed mill on the same site which he continued to run until July, 2004.
In the 1960s he also took over the government grain storage and drying facility in Bedford, converting the site to store more grain and provide a drying and storage facility for local farmers. He also owned four local garages.
He married Pamela Logsdon in 1946 and they had three children, Bill, David and Lindsay. Bill and David went on to create the Jordans Cereal business. Pam continues to run the shop at Holme Mills.
"I don't think anyone could have packed more into a life," said David Jordan.
"He had a lot of fun along the way and was never afraid to take risks. Above all he would always have a go.
"He was hugely active all his life with a very practical sense of humour and a devil may care attitude that got him into trouble on more than one occasion.
"He was a larger than life character and fiercely loyal to Biggleswade and Bedfordshire.
"I don't recall him reading any national newspaper preferring The Comet or the Chronicle. He'll be missed by many people in the area, not just his family and friends.
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