Space Group and the wider UK catering equipment industry is in mourning following the death of Malcolm Ball last Friday.
The distributor’s MD, Ian Bidmead, sadly had to announce that Malcolm passed away peacefully on Friday morning, after recently being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
One of Space Group’s longest-serving staff members, Malcolm spent his early career selling confectionary for Cadburys and had spells in retailing before joining the catering equipment industry with Mid West Catering in 1988.
That business subsequently became part of PKL before Space was formed in 2000, with Malcolm one of the founder members of the company.
Bidmead detailed: “For the next 19 years, he was at the centre of the sales team and very much the ‘face of Space’, always eager to help customers, suppliers and colleagues alike.
“Malcolm, or ‘Malc’ as everyone knew him, was well known, respected and admired throughout the industry. If you were lucky enough to have crossed paths with Malc, you will know that nothing was ever too much effort, his positivity, open mindedness and sense of humour were highly contagious.”
Bidmead continued to pay tribute to Malcolm, saying: “He was truly passionate about sales, always putting customers first and his high standards and values have been instrumental in helping make Space the company it is today. A true gentleman and father figure to our Space family, Malc will be greatly missed by all of us.”
Outside of work, Malcolm was a talented actor and director, and was chair of the committee for iconic Cheltenham Playhouse Theatre.
He is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and three children – Jack, Kate and Jenny. Bidmead said: “Our thoughts and condolences go out to them at this difficult time.
“As per Malc’s own wishes, there will not be a funeral, but we are in the process of planning a fundraising walk in honour of him on 16 November with an open invitation for all his industry friends to join in and pay their respects. The walk will be in support of Sue Ryder, an organisation that relies entirely on fundraising and provides such incredible care to so many people and their families.
“We will communicate out more details on this, including how you can take part and how to donate, over the next few weeks.”
When Bidmead posted the tragic news on LinkedIn, members of the industry lined up to add their own tributes to Malcolm.
Lockhart Catering Equipment key account manager Laurence Hookway wrote: “A true gent, an extremely talented, kind and knowledgeable man. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Colin Stapley, business development manager at Catering Equipment Support said: “I dealt with Malc at PKL, he was always honest and a true gent, will be sadly missed.”
While Richard Ebbs, director at Synergy Grill Technology, commented: “Malcolm was very highly regarded and respected. Thoughts with his family and with all his friends at Space.”
Vision Commercial Kitchens’ key accounts manager David Bryant wrote: “Extremely sad news, top man in every way. He will be sadly missed by many.”
And Simon Callus, Meiko UK business development director, said: “What a true gent and such a sad loss. One of the genuine good guys.”