EMOTIONAL tributes have been paid to one of Hartlepool’s most prominent businessmen who died after a battle with cancer.
Ted Horsley, 74, finally lost his battle on September 22.
Mr Horsley set up HQ Engineering with business partner Cliff Quenet in 1965, with the HQ initials standing for the pair’s surnames.
The pair set up the business after being laid off from Gray’s shipyard and Cliff’s brother, Gus, was also involved in forming the company.
At its peak in the 1980s, the firm employed around 250 people and was also involved in lucrative contracts that saw industrial pipelines shipped all over the world, including to South Africa and the USA.
Mr Horsley’s family and friends paid tribute to “a true gentleman”.
His wife of 53 years, Eveline, who lives in the West Park area of town, said: “I will miss his sense of humour, and the love.
“He was a family man, and would call a spade a spade.
“He was a true gentleman and very sincere and was a very hands-on boss who wasn’t afraid to get in there and roll his sleeves up if people needed help.”
The couple, who met at Seaton Carew when Mr Horsley wooed her up on his motorbike, have two children, Stephen, 51 and Beverley, 46 and grandchildren Jenna, Philip, Paul-Robert and Emma.
Mr Horsley and the Quenet brothers started out in a small shed in Harbour Road, and initially carried out ship repairs.
Mr Quenet recalled: “We started out with one job, it was a sewage pump job.
“It was a struggle at first but we worked all the hours and always thought if we had enough work to carry us over into the next week that would be ideal.
“We were all just friends.”
Over the years, the business built up and they moved to bigger premises, first further up Harbour Road, then to Jackson’s Dock and then a factory in Burn Road, where it operated until 2006.
David Gill, 71, who worked for HQ Engineering when it was first formed and is also married to Mrs Horsley’s sister, Jean, said: “I’ve known Ted since I was 16, and no problem was too big or too small.
“He had real ambition.”
Ron Blair, who started with the firm in 1971 and was company secretary before retiring in 2001, said: “There wasn’t a job Ted wouldn’t tackle.
“Over the years we had some of the best tradesmen in the area.”
Mr Horsley attended Brougham Primary School and Dyke House Secondary School as a youngster and his parents were Jane and Ted.
He grew up in the area known as The Tips, which is the streets behind Middleton Road.
Prior to setting up HQ Engineering, Mr Horsley worked as an apprentice fitter for Gray’s and Ed Wrightson’s Forgings in Brenda Road.
He had a short stint with the Merchant Navy before returning to Gray’s, where he worked with Mr Quenet.
Mr Horsley’s funeral was due to take place today at St Aidan’s Church, in Oxford Street, at 12.45pm, prior to cremation at Stanton Crematorium and followed by a wake at Hartlepool Cricket Club.
The family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Ward 11 of the University Hospital of Hartlepool which treated him.