Tributes to man who created jobs in Ilkeston

Terry Keely, who died from cancer. he ran Bellfield furnishings in Ilk.
Terry Keely, who died from cancer. he ran Bellfield furnishings in Ilk.

A man who helped create hundreds of jobs at Bellfield Furnishings in Ilkeston and was a stalwart of the town’s rugby club has died from cancer.

Terence Keeley, who had four children and four stepchildren, died on July 19, aged 69.

He had got married to partner Judy the day before his death. His funeral was held on Friday.

Mr Keely was a member of Ilkeston Rugby Club for more than 50 years and had been president and chairman.

He was instrumental in the move of the club from its old home to its current home at The Stute which improved facilities.

He was also involved at Ilkeston Town before its demise.

His daughter, Laura, said: “He was born in Nottingham and trained as an accountant there. He then went to work at Beaver Foam in Alfreton where he was financial director and floated the company on the stock exchange.

“He then set up a company with his business partner in Castle Donington called Duflex.”

It was through his involvement with Ilkeston Rugby Club that he crossed paths with Ilkeston businessman Paul Millership.

He and Paul bought Beauvale Furnishings in 1995 and sold it in 1998. Mr Keely retired but a number of years later, when he heard that the company was struggling, he came out of retirement and he and Paul set up Bellfield Furnishings.

Laura said: “Paul was very much the figurehead, my dad was dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s and sorting the finances. It was a major contribution to what the business is today. Paul died eight years ago and dad took over at Bellfield. He retired about 18 months ago.”

Laura described her dad as a ‘real character’ who was very well known and knew the name of most of his employees. She said: “He was always walking the factory floor making sure everyone was ok, he took a real personal interest in people. He was larger than life but never forgot his roots. If someone wanted tickets for a rugby match he would get them for them and not make an issue of it. He was always willing to help.”

When it was suggested by an insurance company that part of the company move north following a fire, Mr Keely refused because he did not want people to lose their jobs at Ilkeston.