John Sutcliffe, founder of leading Liverpool engineering firm, dies aged 67

John Sutcliffe, who led the Liverpool-based civil and structural consulting engineers that bears his name for more than 30 years, has died at home in Southport with his family.

In a statement, the company said: “It’s with great sadness and a heavy heart we announce that John Sutcliffe has sadly passed away peacefully at home with his family. Our deepest sympathy to all his family, friends and colleagues at this extremely difficult time. John will be greatly missed by us all.”

Sutcliffe was Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) North West chairman for several years from 2006 and a familiar face at business events in the region, where he was a tenacious advocate for the north and Liverpool in particular. An active member of the local business community, he was chairman of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce from 2011 until he stepped down in December 2016. Sutcliffe was also an enthusiastic member of the Consulting Engineers Golfing Society, where he will be remembered fondly by fellow members for his competitive but fair-minded approach. 

His was also involved in community work and his charitable and non-executive roles included chairman of the 24 7 Theatre Festival, governor of Merchant Taylors School in Crosby, and trustee of Homebaked co-operative bakery and community land trust. Located just a few steps from Liverpool Football Club, Homebaked is a group of local residents, football fans and supporters who came together with the desire to take an active part in the development of their local neighbourhood.

Sutcliffe graduated from Sheffield University in civil and structural engineering in 1970. He established Sutcliffe in 1985 and built the firm up to become the largest independent chartered engineers and chartered surveyors in Liverpool, with additional offices in Manchester, Wrexham and London. Now a multidisciplinary practice, the firm has become renowned for its personal approach to building client relationships. Its ethos of "getting on with people", keenly advocated by its founder, has always been a proud selling point for Sutcliffe in a competitive industry.

John Sutcliffe had been fighting cancer for two years and in October staff at the firm completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK. On their JustGiving fundraising page, they said: “We dedicate our fundraising to our MD, John Sutcliffe. Thanks to the treatment pioneered by the likes of Cancer Research UK, John continues his fight, taking each day at a time.”

Responding to the sad news, ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: “John Sutcliffe was a tireless and vocal advocate for consultancy and engineering and ACE in the north west and his voice will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. His involvement in community and charitable work was also typical of the man he was and the kind of professional company he built. ACE sends its deepest sympathy to John’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time” 

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