Danny Sharpe obituary

Last modified on Sun 9 Jan 2022 12.47 EST

My father, Danny Sharpe, who has died aged 84, spent most of his career as a civil servant, helping to bring investment and opportunities to the north-east of England.

He joined the civil service in 1959, entering at the lowest clerical officer grade. Eventually he became deputy regional director for the north-east at the Department of Trade and Industry.

Danny was born in Blyth, Northumberland, the son of Elizabeth (nee Donnelly) and Daniel Sharpe, who worked in insurance. On leaving St Cuthbert’s grammar school, Newcastle, at the age of 15 with no qualifications, he worked as a door-to-door salesman and delivery van driver, and then undertook national service in the RAF.

His civil service career began at the the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in London under the national service resettlement programme. After 10 years he seized an an opportunity to return to the north-east, working at the new Ministry of Technology.

He was attracted by the optimistic outlook of Harold Wilson’s “white heat of technology” drive, bringing scientific advances into industry. The loss of traditional industries in coal mining, steelmaking and shipbuilding meant that the region needed creative solutions.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, he was often called on to brief ministers and also to accompany members of the royal family on visits to the area. In 1992 he was appointed to chair the Recharge North East initiative by the energy minister. Danny led export trade missions to south-east Asia, Europe and North America, which brought significant investment successes.

In his final posting, a secondment to a private sector company, the Newcastle Initiative, in 1994, he raised finance to kickstart local initiatives as well as funding the clean-up of the historic buildings of Newcastle’s Grainger Town and lighting the famous Tyne Bridge.

In 1991 he was appointed OBE. He retired in 1995 and the following year was awarded an honorary fellowship of the University of Northumbria.

Outside his work, Danny was a keen amateur artist, and visitors to the house would invariably leave with at least one painting under their arm. A practising Catholic, he devoted many hours to St Cuthbert’s church, Kenton. He also served on the board of the Northumbrian Industrial Mission, placing chaplains in industry.

In 1959 Danny married Sheila Young. She survives him, along with their daughter, Clare, and sons, Paul and me, as well as two grandsons, Joseph and Alfie.

Source: Read Full Article

click fraud detection