Tribute to ‘most generous’ 1066 country car dealer Ted Wilmoth

Ted Wilmoth
Ted Wilmoth

The son of a recently-deceased car dealer described his dad as ‘the kindest, most generous and honourable man I have yet to meet’.

Edward ‘Ted’ Wilmoth died over the Christmas period and will be sorely missed by his former employees and family, according to James Wilmoth.

Ted built a small empire of car dealerships across 1066 country, starting with his own garage in Hastings.

James said he spent his years after retiring in 2000 with his many grandchildren.

“Since retiring he dedicated a lot of time to his family, his wife, three daughters, son and ten grandchildren, having worked all the hours available during his working life,” 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.

“He maintained an avid interest and appreciation of local businesses and maintained his commitment to British goods.

“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.”

When Ted, who lived in Robertsbridge before moving to Herstmonceux, retired 15 and a half years ago, the Observer ran an interview with him talking about his life in car dealing.

James found a copy when clearing out his dad’s old study and after digging through the Observer archives, the article gives a thorough insight into his life. It tells the story of Ted’s car dealership empire which began when he moved to the area to buy Bexhill Motors with rugby teammate Bob Andrews.

Ted went solo in the 1990s when started his own eponymous 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 (VW).

James took over the Citroen garages in Telham and Eastbourne when the VW and Bexhill Mazda sites were sold.

Ted said car dealers were ‘the most honest people’ he had ever come across and the industry was ‘tough’, the rewards did not justify the pressures.

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