Roy Seeman dies aged 83
A Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers (WCB), Roy Seeman has died aged 83.
Born in Manor Park, East London, Roy was a third generation butcher following his father and grandfather into the trade. Roy always said one of the biggest influences in his life was another Past Master Bill Hedges, and his father and grandfather along with other family members, including Roy, was employed by Bill Hedges over many decades.
Roy was head boy at Chadwell Junior School and won a scholarship to Ilford Country Grammar School where he excelled at sport. He was also keen on music leading the recorder orchestra and playing the violin. Roy also took to acting at school and this developed into one of his great interests in life.
Leaving school at 16 he went to study baking at the National Bakery School at Borough Polytechnic in 1950. He was awarded a Joseph Rank scholarship in his first year which funded his second year. In 1952 he entered National Service in the RASC and found his skills could be well deployed.
On leaving the army, Roy joined Fance Bros who had several high class bakery shops in London and continued his education by taking evening classes at South East Essex Bakery College. He joined the college staff in 1955 as a research assistant. And two years later it was Bill Hedges who appointed Roy as a management trainee. Throughout this period Roy continued with his interest in music and had joined the Borough Polytechnic Choir and became semi-professional, singing with the Dennis Coleman Singers at variety theatres and other venues including the London Coliseum.
As part of his employment as a management trainee, under Bill Hedges, he was placed at Wilson Bros Butchers in Hoxton Street, where he learnt more about the meat trade and he also understudied Bernard Strange at Smithfield for a period too. Roy went on to manage the Hoxton Street shop for five years before becoming a director and personal assistant to Bill Hedges in the wider business. Roy was head hunted and went to work for Eddie Anderson in his catering butchery business. Two years passed and Roy was head hunted again, this time by Jim Sanger. After running a large business including a boning operation, Roy took over a shop at the Shepherds House Roundabout in Reading, but by 1987 had tired of the seven day a week grindstone and took a job in sales with Pyke Biggs, before buying a butchers shop in Shiplake in 1988.
Roy became a WCB liveryman in 1964, joined the court in 1985 and in 1995 was elected Master. After his term as Master, Roy undertook various consultancy roles including a sales role for ingredients company Raps UK.
Raps general manager, Ian Mackway, said: “Roy approached me after he had retired to see if he could be of any help to us. I was happy to employ him on a part time basis and he would spend his time visiting butchers in the Norfolk area promoting our products and organising seminars for butchery demonstrations. He was always well received by customers and extremely professional in his approach to this part time position. He will be missed.”
Roy leaves a widow, Gloria, a son and daughter, and grandchildren.