Tributes in for renowned developer of Baldock Tesco superstore after COVID-19 death

Richard Daniels sadly passed away on May 9, aged 89. Picture: Jennifer Ridley

Richard Daniels sadly passed away on May 9, aged 89. Picture: Jennifer Ridley

The daughter of much-loved developer Richard Daniels has paid tribute to his “heart of gold” after the 89-year-old sadly died from coronavirus earlier this month.

Arlesey-born Richard Daniels, renowned in the community for his development of the Baldock Tesco superstore – among other infrastructure projects – died on May 9 after contracting COVID-19 at Bedford Hospital, when he went in for routine treatment for a UTI infection.

Richard’s daughter Jennifer Ridley said he was in “great health” before contracting the virus, and was still working only a month before his death.

“Dad was a self-made man who started his career when he was just 14, selling Esso Blue paraffin fuel” Jennifer said. “His projects grew and grew into a multi-million pound property company, though working mainly locally, out of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

“He brought housing and amenities to the area, created hundreds of jobs, and was motivated by a real desire to leave behind a better community for the rest of us.

“Dad loved the countryside and conservation and the preservation of architecture was key in several of his larger projects.”

The height of Richard’s career came when he redeveloped the former Kayser Bondor site in Baldock, into the Tesco Extra store it is now, ensuring to preserve its original 20th century facade.

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“Dad did not deserve to die without his family around him,” Jennifer added. “I want to thank the amazing staff at Bedford Hospital for taking care of him and doing everything they could to get him through – and for being with him in his last moments when we couldn’t.

“All we could do was send in some of his favourite music and write letters to be read while he lay unconscious. It is heartbreaking that we were not able to give him the send off he so deserves.

“Dad was a legend in the eyes of all that knew him, famous in the family for his zest for life. His perseverance and resilience when times were hard were to be admired by all. We are all immensely proud and grateful for his achievements and the wonderful life we shared with him.”

Richard leaves behind his wife Jacky, three daughters, Heather, Cheryl and Jenny and, his son Richard, 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.