Tribute has been paid to a car dealer who ‘built a small empire of car dealerships across 1066 country’ before starting with his own garage in Hastings.
The son of Edward ‘Ted’ Wilmoth described his dad as ‘the kindest, most generous and honourable man I have yet to meet’ following his death over the Christmas period.
Ted, who retired from the trade back in 2000, bought his first dealership, Bexhill Motors, with rugby teammate Bob Andrews.
After going solo in the 1990s he started his own dealership on Sedlescombe Road North, Hastings, before buying Jarrett’s Motors, Cooden Motors, Bryan’s of Rye and Skinner’s.
He moved across the road to a purpose-built dealership next to Sainsbury’s, where he sold Rovers, before switching to Volkswagens.
Son James took over the Citroen garages in Telham and Eastbourne when the VW and Bexhill Mazda sites were sold.
Speaking to the Rye and Battle Observer, James said that his father had spent the years following his retirement 15 years ago with his ten grandchildren.
He said: “He kept himself very busy with various projects and was a large supporter of many charities, mostly local.
“He climbed Machu Picchu for Scope, gained the Freedom of the city of London (charity) and was the founder of a parliamentary patrons club, whilst remaining the treasurer of the local horticultural society for more than 40 years.
“When he was not busy doing something, he could be found travelling or in his garden. He was the kindest, most generous and honourable man I have yet to meet.”