Peterborough MP leads tributes to ‘true gentleman’ Jim

Dr Jim Deboo receives maundy money at York Minister from the Queen. Photo: David Lowndes
Dr Jim Deboo receives maundy money at York Minister from the Queen. Photo: David Lowndes
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Tributes have been paid to Dr Jim Deboo OBE, a “true gentleman” of Peterborough who has died after giving decades of service to his city.

Jim, who was hand-picked for a rare honour from The Queen last year, died on Monday, at the age of 91 after suffering failing health in recent months.

Jim Deboo. Photo: Paul Franks

Jim Deboo. Photo: Paul Franks

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson was one of the first to share his sadness, describing Jim as an inspiration to many people.

The MP applauded work done by Jim, whose dedication was widely-recognised in the fields of engineering and training, charity work, religion and music.

He said: “He was not only a Renaissance Man – a talented singer, linguist, public speaker, engineer, internationalist amongst other things – but he cared passionately about Peterborough.

“He was one of a dwindling breed, a true gentleman of the old school who will be much missed by friends and family across the city and beyond.”

The Queen awarded specially-minted Maundy Money to Jim, in an auspicious ceremony at York Minster, in April, to mark her Jubilee year.

Peterborough church leaders nominated Jim to receive the Royal silver for his overwhelmingly positive contribition to the city.

Jim had previously picked up an OBE from Her Majesty, in 1986, for his services to engineering. He was an apprentice at Baker Perkins, was promoted to apprentice supervisor and went on to open the pioneering Baker Perkins Apprentice School, in 1954.

He headed up training at Baker Perkins and late joined the Court and Council at Loughborough University, where was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Technology.

Civic-minded Jim, a father, grandfather and great-grandfather, was a school governor at the King’s School for 15 years and Jack Hunt School for 30 years.

Jim set up the Peterborough Professional Bodies Group in the 1970s, was president of the Museum Society and of the Civic Society, and chairman of Westwood Works Musical Society.

A devoted Christian, Jim sang in the All Saints Church Choir until recently, where he was vice-chair of the PCC and a lay minister.

Daughter Rosie Sandall said: “He lived a full and active life and he remained interested in all that was going on right to the end of his life.”