Grimsby fish pioneer dies –

Grimsby fish pioneer dies Published:  18 January, 2010

TOMMY Rudland, one of the leading figures in the Grimsby fish trade for many years , has died aged 80.

A larger than life character, he was probably best known for his passion for the fishing industry ands for his personal generosity particularly to fishermen who he felt were not prepared their true worth for the hardships they had to endure. He would often pay over the odds for fish so trawler crews could get a little extra money.

After service in the Grenadier Guards, he returned to Grimsby and joined Ross Group as a fish buyer, frequently travelling to Scotland for supplies.

He formed a business partnership with his old friend George Bates and the firm of E.A Bates grew into one of the largest independent fish merchanting businesses on the docks. At its height the company employed over 200 people. It expanded into the smoked fish trade and he became one of the very few fish merchants to own a fishing vessel, a seiner called the Elizabeth.

Very much a businessman of the ‘old school’, every year he would take the entire staff of E.A. Bates to a show in London, paying for their hotel costs and theatre tickets.

Steve Norton , chief executive of the Grimsby Fish Merchants Association, said: Tom was a character in every sense of the word. Not only was he large in stature, but he was also big hearted and generous. The fish docks were his life and he was one of the pioneers in the middle of the 20th century, developing the seafood industry at all levels.”

He leaves three daughters. The funeral service will be held at Grimsby Crematorium on Friday, January 29th at 1pm.