'Grandaddy of scrap metal' dies aged 95

John Bagshaw, known as 'the grandaddy of scrap metal', has died aged 95.

John Bagshaw, known as 'the grandaddy of scrap metal', has died aged 95. - Credit: Marvin Shalders

A scrap metal mogul, whose hard graft and work ethic helped him build his business, has died aged 95.

His grandson and those within the scrap metal community have paid tribute to an "impeccable" man who "lived his life full throttle".

John Henry "Baggy" Bagshaw, was born in Norwich on November 2, 1926, and was youngest of three - with two sisters - Honour and Mary. His parents were George and Charlotte Bagshaw.

Marvin Shalders, John's grandson, said: "Baggy would always run away from school.

"He was once picked up in Acle after his parents sent him to a school in Yarmouth - he'd decided he didn't want to be there so, at seven-years-old, he cycled along the Acle straight back to Norwich.

John Bagshaw spent three years in the Navy in the 40s rescuing prisoners of war.

John Bagshaw spent three years in the Navy in the 40s rescuing prisoners of war. - Credit: Marvin Shalders

"In the end they had to send him to a boarding school in Jersey so he couldn't escape."

But John's work ethic started early. At around eight years old his first job was to hand out cigarettes to those working at St Miles Mill.

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Marvin said: "When he finished education he spent three years in the navy from 1942 to 1945 - going out to Singapore, Japan, and bringing back those who were prisoners of war.

"He was very proud of his time there and always used to wear clothes with the navy badge emblazoned on it - he was very patriotic."

Once John had returned from the Navy the recycling business his dad George had built had gone bust due to him dying while he was away.

"He was never given anything in life," said Marvin.

John Bagshaw met "the one true love of his life" on a night out.

John Bagshaw met "the one true love of his life" on a night out. - Credit: Marvin Shalders

"He worked hard for everything and because scrap and recycling was the only thing he knew, in the 50s, he started fresh in Pottergate and was there for 10 years.

"Another site was set up in Lowestoft but when a colleague got that site into debt Baggy worked solid, and slept in his car for four years, to make sure every single debt was paid back.

"That was the metal of the man.

"From Pottergate he moved to Barker Street in 1967 where the business is today.

"Everyone loved him because you knew where you stood with him - he became the grandaddy of scrap metal."

After living in Unthank Road for many years John moved to Lakenham in the 60s where he would stay.

During this time, John met "the one true love of his life", Lilly on a night out.

John Bagshaw became known as "the grandaddy of scrap metal" among others in the business.

John Bagshaw became known as "the grandaddy of scrap metal" among others in the business. - Credit: Marvin Shalders

Marvin said: "It was one of those moments - their eyes met from across the room.

"He used to call her his film star and always say 'isn't she glamorous?' - he absolutely idolised her and would tear up every time he spoke about her because she passed away around 20 years ago.

"And even though Lilly already had four children John took on step-father duties and was so proud to call me his grandson.

"We used to see him all the time and had such a close relationship with him."

In 1991 John was diagnosed with throat cancer and had to have an operation so he could speak using a voice box.

Marvin added: "The doctor said he'd get five to six quality years after the operation but he lasted 31 years.

John Bagshaw was described as an "impeccable" man who "lived his life full throttle."

John Bagshaw was described as an "impeccable" man who "lived his life full throttle." - Credit: Marvin Shalders

"That same doctor would say to the new interns 'here's Mr Bagshaw, he's my miracle, he shouldn't be here' at every check up.

"However John suffered from an ischemic left foot as he grew older and while his mind was still sharp his body couldn't cash the cheques.

"But even after taking him to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital he lasted a week longer than the doctors thought.

"Even then I thought 'you bugger' - he was still playing tricks.

"We managed to go and see him again before he died, peacefully, on May 21 from his ischemic foot, vascular disease, and frailty."

The funeral is on June 14 at  St Mary & St Margaret Church from 12pm.