Industry pays tribute to “true gentleman” Malcolm Ball

Malc crop
Malcolm Ball worked for Space Group since its inception in 2000.

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.

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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.”

Tags : dealerdeathdistributorSpace Catering
Clare Nicholls

The author Clare Nicholls


  1. This is terribly sad news – I really liked and admired Malcolm as a person and he was great to to work with. Much respect is due and I am sure that he will be missed by everyone who knew him.

  2. Dealt with Malc for many years, even when at Mid West Catering and as others have already said , a lovely man, honest and a great sense of humor. Condolences to all his family and friends.

  3. Such sad news. Like many others, I found Malcolm was always a pleasure to deal with and a beacon of positivity even in the most challenging of situations. My sincerest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues

  4. Thanks to all for the kind messages and tributes received since this very sad news broke. We have collated them and passed them onto his family who are very appreciative. Ian

  5. A true kind, thoughtful gentleman,always made time with a smile. I will miss him, my love and best wishes go to his family and friends.

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