A message from Mark Bretton, Chair, LEP Network.
"I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of John Mortimer this week. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.
John had recently retired from his role as Chair of the Swindon & Wiltshire LEP, a post he held since November 2016, having joined the board in May 2015.
John was always a source of wise counsel and leadership at LEP Network meetings with other chairs, helping to develop many of the policies that have helped shape and define the role of LEPs over the past five years. These include implementing the recommendations of the government’s ‘Strengthened LEP Review’, leading the LEP Network’s working group on LEP accountability, setting up a cross-LEP rural policy group to engage more closely with government, and representing his LEP and his region at senior ministerial level within government.
His tenure as Chair of the SWLEP spanned some of the most significant periods in its evolution, as it has grown in leadership and responsibility. John oversaw the launch of the Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub, which has supported thousands of local businesses, established the LEP’s annual conference which attracts hundreds of business leaders from across the region, and was instrumental in forging the region’s Strategic Economic Plan and its Local Industrial Strategy.
John was a passionate champion of the rural economy and rural enterprise, building on his business experience and his time with the Country Land and Business Association, and South West Chamber of Rural Enterprise. In a wider context, John was also closely involved in guiding and steering the SWLEP through the 2018 Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury and, a year later, the announcement by Honda of the closure in 2021 of its Swindon production plant.
John was a great fellow chair and strong personal supporter when I took over as chair of the LEP Network. We knew that John was very unwell, but he bore this with huge fortitude and continued to bring his depth of experience and wisdom to both his own LEP and his colleagues. I am personally very saddened by the news of his passing. John was a true gentleman and will be sorely missed. My best wishes and condolences to John’s family, colleagues and friends across the LEP, business and government community who benefited from the precious time he spent with us.