Shepherd Neame announces passing of president and former chairman

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

First president: Robert ‘Bobby’ Neame served as a company director from 1957 until 2006
First president: Robert ‘Bobby’ Neame served as a company director from 1957 until 2006

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Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has announced that president and former chairman Robert ‘Bobby’ Neame passed away on 15 November.

Neame studied science at Harrow before touring Europe and Scandinavia where he worked for cutting-edge breweries including Carlsberg and Tuborg in Denmark, Pripps in Sweden, and Holsten and Paulaner in Germany.

He finished his grand tour at Hurlimann in Switzerland, where he forged a relationship that was to have an important impact at Shepherd Neame in later years.

Neame joined the Faversham-based brewer – which now operates more than 300 pubs across London and the south-east – in 1956, serving as a company director from 1957 until 2006, when he became Shepherd Neame’s first president. In 1971, he became chairman and chief executive of the company.

Far-reaching interests and achievements

Neame lead Kent County Council as its Conservative leader from 1982 until 1984 and became chair of the British section of the international union of local authorities, high sheriff of Kent in 2001.

He brought his political skills to bear on the Monopolies Commission report into the brewing industry in 1989 and the resulting Beer Orders that saw the introduction of guest beers and the rapid disengagement by the national brewers from owning pubs.

What’s more, in 1990, Neame launched a premium ale, Spitfire, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain – fought in the skies above Kent – and to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.

In addition to numerous company directorships, Neame became master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers in 1999 and president of Kent Cricket Club in 2003.

He was also appointed a deputy lieutenant of Kent in 1992, was awarded a CBE in 1999 as well as a Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of Kent in 2008.

Neame leaves his widow, Yvonne, his four children Charlotte, Jonathan, Sarah and Moray and nine grandchildren.

There will be a private family funeral and a memorial service in due course.

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