Franca Knowles: Family pay tribute

By James Wallin

- Last updated on GMT

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Franca Knowles
Franca Knowles
Keith Knowles, chief executive of Beds & Bars, and his family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of tributes to Franca Knowles, who sadly passed away on Friday 7 November. Franca died surrounded by her family, after fighting a brain tumour for many years.

In a statement the family said:

Born in the Dutch town of Beesd, Franca had a simple and humble upbringing before training with Holland’s Horeca sector - championing excellence across the hotel, restaurant, and cafe industry.

In 2008 Franca was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to skills training in the hospitality industry and to charity. She was also recognised for her outstanding work in the sector with a number of NITA awards, the 2010 title of Companion from the British Institute of Inn Keeping, and a 2013 induction into the Top 100 Club of The Most Influential Women in the Industry, at the Women 1st Shine Awards. Her work in devising the Beds & Bars Footsteps training scheme was the key catalyst in the business winning the Investors in People Gold Champion status.

Franca spoke four languages, was a qualified teacher in dressmaking, and fabrics, and held certification as a reflexologist, in addition to qualifications in psychosynthesis, and psychology. She loved the saxophone, piano and guitar, skiing and boating, cooking and gardening. Most of all she loved her family - her husband, three children, and a wonderful dog. They were the centre of each other’s lives. 


Paying tribute to Franca, Murray Roberts, MD of Beds & Bars said: “A big part of Franca will always be with us in Beds & Bars - her love of people, her compassion, her tireless work as People Director and her now famous words: ‘Live your life.’ The world is a lesser place without her, but a better place because of her. Please join me in sending all of our love to Keith, Chesca, Jan and Luke.”


On Wednesday 19 November there will be a celebration of Franca’s life at the original St Christopher's Inn in Borough High Street. Guests are asked to wear something bright and brilliant - especially anything turquoise - her favourite colour.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests a donation towards the charities that supported Franca and the family: The Brain Trust or The National Brain Appeal.

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