Dick Rose – Making a Difference

Richard Rose, better known as Dick, was a director of Rose Calendars for more than 40 years, and a much loved member of the Rose family. He lived and worked in Colchester and used his love of long distance running to raise money for local charities, completing an amazing 37 marathons in 20 years.

On the anniversary of his death over nine years ago this spring, we remember a dear friend and colleague.

Making a difference in the family firm

Dick never intended to go into the family business. He graduated in English Language and Literature from Wadham College Oxford, but eventually in the mid-1950s found himself working beside his father, Ivor, in the calendar business, selling for the company and working in the office at the busy end of the year. After the death of a Scottish sales agent, Dick took on this territory, spending four weeks away at a time then returning home to call on more local customers in Essex and South London.

As time went on, Dick took over the financial administration as well as sales, while his brother Chris took charge of production. Together they developed the business with investment in new equipment and a move to the present purpose-designed factory. As the business flourished, they increased the range, quality and quantity of calendars produced. Dick and Chris always looked to the future and invested in people with skills and ability to manage the company beyond their own retirement: one of these being Chris’ son, Michael who is now the Managing Director of the business. Dick retired from Rose Calendars in 1999.

Living life to the full

Dick always loved to be out of doors and active – he met his wife Mary on a hiking holiday in the Swiss Alps – and he particularly enjoyed long distance running and walking. He was a keen supporter of Ipswich Town, and football matches were regular family outings for Dick, his brother and their children. He travelled on holidays with Mary to all continents of the world. He was an active member of the church and sang in the church choir as well as in Gilbert and Sullivan groups and pantomimes.

Raising money for charity

Dick used his love of long distance running as a way of raising money for good causes. In the 20 years up to 2001, he ran 37 marathons including the London and New York marathons eleven times each and Paris three times, raising £40,000 for charity through his efforts.

Later he turned to long distance walking for his fundraising schemes. In 2005 in aid of the National Deaf Children’s Society he walked with a team to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon (the Three Peaks challenge) in 27 hours and 3 minutes. The seven climbers and two drivers included Dick’s son Philip and nephew Michael, and raised well above their target of £5,000.

On the Thames Walk challenge, Dick and several others completed the entire 182 mile walk from the river’s source to the Thames Barrier, accompanied on various sections of the route by more than 60 other members of the Colchester Rotary Club, as well as family members, raising £10,000 for Colchester’s St Helena’s Hospice.

As president of the Rotary Club, Dick was heavily involved in the Rotary Club charities, his face frequently appearing in the newspaper at Christmas time beside stories of gifts for people in need. In addition Dick organised and raised funds for two church restoration projects, was a blood donor and a volunteer for school work, National Trust work, and more.

A link with the past

When Dick became a Trustee of Winnocks and Kendalls Almshouse Charity, he formed a link between his own charitable work and that of his great uncle, George Rose, the founder of Rose Calendars. In the 1930s George was the main benefactor for the same charity, funding the construction of 21 almshouses, all built close to the original Rose factory in Kendall Road. He also contributed regularly to the Mayor’s Fund to help the families of distressed unemployed people in the town. By the time of his death in 1943, George had given over £50,000 for good works in the town of Colchester.

Like his great uncle George, Dick Rose lived life to the full, embracing the challenges and responsibilities of work, tirelessly raising money to help others, and enjoying family life. His legacy lives on today, through local and national charities which Rose Calendars continue to support and with Dick’s family who continue to pass his love of life on to the next generation.



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