John Oliver

Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to award-winning hairdresser John Oliver, who has died, aged 63, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Family, friends and colleagues have paid tribute to award-winning hairdresser John Oliver, who has died, aged 63, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Mr Oliver became a household name in East Anglia during a career which spanned almost four decades, after he opened his first salon in Cromer in 1965.

In more than 40 years the business has grown to its present level of 10 salons across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, together with a training academy called JO.

Mr Oliver, who lived in Brooke, just outside Norwich, was actively involved in the company until he retired about four years ago and was much admired and respected.


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During the course of his career he was involved in hairdressing nationally, both with Inter Coiffure and The Fellowship of British Hairdressers, and also worked in Paris and New York.

Mr Oliver, who married his second wife Diane, a fellow hairdresser, in December 1983, originally wanted to

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be an accountant but because he missed a lot of school turned to hairdressing.

“He was a wonderful man and very well respected. He trained so many people who then went on to open their own successful salons in the area and he continued to support them,” Mrs Oliver said.

Outside of work he enjoyed golf and fly fishing.

Jason Ball, managing director of John Olivers, said: “John was the heart and soul of the business. A charismatic and warm man, he was a mentor and a friend to many employees and colleagues in the trade.

“He had an uncanny knack of predicting future trends within the fashion and business worlds. As the visionary figurehead for the company he cared passionately about the hairdressing industry, cascading his ideas to the salon teams, motivating senior management and trainees alike. John was always interested in people, influencing the minds and careers of many. He will be sadly missed.”

Mr Oliver returned to Cromer last year to celebrate the 40th birthday of his first salon.

There he spoke of trying to transfer the iconic haircuts of each period - such as Twiggy's short crop of the '60s, the “Purdy” cut of the '80s and the style of Rachel from Friends in the late '90s - to the high street.

“When I opened my first salon in 1965 it was the beginning of the revolution,” he said.

Mr Oliver, who is also survived by his first wife Rae Berrill, died in hospital on Thursday.

A memorial service is planned in Norwich on a date yet to be confirmed but donations for cancer research can be sent to Ivan Fisher, Norton House, 17 Park Drive, Hethersett, Norwich, NR9 3EN.

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