My father, Tony Wade, who has died aged 90, was one of many UK’s main black entrepreneurs in the course of the Seventies and 80s. As a director of Dyke & Dryden, which he ran with two different black businessmen, Len Dyke and Dudley Dryden, he helped to take the enterprise, which initially specialised in document distribution and journey company, in the direction of the sale of afro hair and wonder merchandise for black ladies.
The corporate arrange its first store in Tottenham, north London, within the late 60s, and it turned so successful that the enterprise expanded quickly, opening additional shops in London and Birmingham and buying and selling internationally.
In addition to his position as a number one black British businessman, Tony additionally labored to advertise group growth and younger folks’s employability. He held many charitable and public appointments, together with as a director of the North London Coaching and Enterprise Council and as a board member of Enterprise within the Group.
Tony was born in Montserrat, one of many 5 youngsters of James, a fisherman, and his spouse, Henrietta (nee Greenaway), a seamstress, who died when Tony was six. After attending Montserrat secondary faculty he skilled as a shoemaker and labored in that commerce till the age of twenty-two, when he left for the UK in 1954, crusing on the RMS Ascania to Southampton.
His first job in Britain was washing dishes at a Lyons’ Nook Home at Marble Arch in central London, however he additionally studied enterprise and English within the evenings on the School of North East London, later transferring on to study accountancy there.
Thereafter he made a residing by importing and exporting, earlier than becoming a member of Dyke & Dryden in 1968 as a director. The corporate’s group outreach included serving to white Barnardo’s workers learn to take care of black youngsters’s hair, and in 1983 the enterprise launched the favored annual Afro Hair and Magnificence Exhibition, which continues to be going.
Tony was appointed MBE in 1987, and in 1993 the housing secretary, George Younger, made him chair of the board of Brent Housing Motion Belief, later Stonebridge Housing Belief.
Dyke & Dryden was bought to a South African group of firms in 1998, after which Tony turned chair of Montserrat Volcano UK Belief, serving to to cope with the aftermath of the 1997 volcanic eruption in Monstserrat that killed 19 folks and rendered a major a part of the island uninhabitable.
He additionally later wrote three books, Black Enterprise in Britain (2005), The Adventures of an Financial Migrant (2007) and The Black Beauty Kings (2017), an account of the black hair care trade in Britain.
His second marriage to Roslyn Taylor led to an amicable divorce. He married his third spouse, Vasantha Benjamin, in 1992 and went on to take pleasure in his retirement along with her, dividing their time between houses in London and Jamaica, the place he died.
He’s survived by Vasantha and their daughter, Sarah, and his two youngsters, Aqasa and me, from his first marriage to Daphne (nee Pottinger), who died in 1979.