Tributes paid to Sheffield magnate and 'leading citizen' Sir Hugh Neill

Tributes have been paid a 'leading Sheffield citizens of the 20th century' who sadly passed away earlier this month.

Wednesday, 15th November 2017, 6:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:00 am
Sir Hugh and wife Lady Anne Neill in 2012

Sir Hugh Neill, a well-known face in the world of business and charity died, aged 96 on November 5.

The business magnate is survived by his children Jill Holah, Susan Browne and son Michael Neill. He has two grand-daughters, a grandson and three great-grandchildren.

Sir Hugh pictured in 2006

Friend and fellow board member of South Yorkshire Community Foundation, Jonathan Hunt, labelled Sir Hugh 'one of the leading Sheffield citizens of the 20th Century'.

The great-grandfather held many prestigious positions which included the role of the Master Cutler of Hallamshire, the High Sheriff of Hallamshire, president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and the Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire.

Away from business, Sir Hugh was heavily involved in the community, voluntary and charity sector.

He was chairman of the Sheffield Council for Voluntary Service and president of the South Yorkshire & Hallamshire Boys Clubs between 1953 and 1996.

Sir Hugh Neill, centre, presents the keys to a new wheelchair accessible minibus to be used by dial-a-ride in the ceremony outside Arbourthorne and District Tenants Association on East Bank Road in 2001

He was president of the South Yorkshire Community Foundation from its formation in 1986 until 2002 and was subsequently appointed President Emeritus.

He has been a trustee of a number of other Sheffield charitable trusts, including the Broomgrove Trust and St. Luke’s Hospice and has managed five family charitable grant-making trusts for over 50 years.

Born in March 1921, he left school at the age of 18 and joined the family firm, James Neill & Co on Napier Street off Ecclesall Road, to gain practical experience before going to Cambridge University in the Autumn of 1939.

But having joined the Territorial Army in the summer of that year, he was called up in August 1939 and spent the next seven years as an officer in the Corps of Royal Engineers, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Sir Hugh pictured in 2006

Sir Hugh's military service took him to Norway in 1940, India and Burma from 1942 to 1945 and finally to Germany.

Rejoining the family firm on his release from the Army, Hugh Neill spent the whole of his working life in the steel and tool industry. In 1963 he succeeded his father as Chairman of James Neill, which became one of the largest tool manufacturers in the world. On his retirement in 1989 he was appointed Honorary President of the company.

Away from business and charity, Sir Hugh had a passion for golf and equestrian and lived on the edge of Lindrick Golf course between Sheffield and Worksop for over 60 years.

Sir Hugh Neill, centre, presents the keys to a new wheelchair accessible minibus to be used by dial-a-ride in the ceremony outside Arbourthorne and District Tenants Association on East Bank Road in 2001