Richard Briggs: Chairman served Norwich firm for 57 years

A Norwich wholesale medical supply business to chemists and pharmacies became one of the largest in the region under the chairmanship of Richard Briggs, who has died aged 91.

He and his brother, John, took on the family business, East Anglian Wholesale Supplies, which had been founded by their father, Russell Harrison Briggs. He had started supplying chemists' sundries from Opie Street, Norwich in 1941.

As the region's largest independent wholesale supplier of pharmaceutical and medical products, it changed its name to East Anglian Pharmaceuticals in 1989. His nephew Jonathan, who took over as managing director in 1986, led the company's further expansion to a �1.8m new purpose-built headquarters as the 70 staff moved to the Pinetrees business park off Salhouse Road.

Richard Anthony Briggs, who went to Norwich School, joined the Merchant Navy as a navigating officer during the second world war.

He then joined the family business and eventually became joint managing director with his elder brother. He then became chairman until he retired in 2002 having completed 57 years with the company. It was later sold by the family.


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He also held senior posts with the National Association of Pharmaceutical Distributors and the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries.

A keen golfer, he was a member of the Royal Norwich Golf Club for more than 50 years, serving as captain in 1983. He was also a former president of the Norfolk Golfers Alliance.

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He was married to Joan, who had helped the war effort by doing horticultural work with the Land Army in Taverham. After a four-month courtship, they married at St Mary's Church, Hellesdon, on January 1, 1945. A keen supporter of the RNLI, they spent much time at the family's holiday home at Eccles.

They celebrated their diamond wedding but after his wife died in 2008, his health declined.

He leaves three daughters, Judith, Diana and Susan, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

After a private committal at Earlham Crematorium, a service of thanksgiving will be held at St Peter's Church, Cringleford, on Friday, November 9 at 11.30am.Michael Pollitt

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