Popular Norfolk Broads figure dies aged 79
- Credit: Archant
The well known Norfolk Broads boating pioneer and business owner Langford Jillings Snr has died at the age of 79.
Born in Lowestoft on Christmas Day in 1938, Mr Jillings worked with his father hiring boats to holidaymakers from St Olaves before building up his own hire and boat building business, Alphacraft, in Brundall.
He died in hospital on Monday August 20 with his partner Margaret at his side.
Norfolk Yacht Agency managing director James Fraser said: 'In the 1980s and 1990s Langford did much to advance the design and comfort of hire craft, not just in Norfolk but across Europe.
'He was an accomplished engineer who had great vision and produced some excellent river cruisers. Brundall has lost one of its great characters and he will be missed by many.'
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John Cressy knew Langford for more than 50 years and said: 'It's the end of an era. He designed some fantastic boats together with John Moxham and at least 50 per cent of the cruisers on the Broads are based on his moulds.
'If you did business with him he would never rip anybody off, he would always treat them fairly.'
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Mr Jillings bought the Alphacraft yard in Brundall in the early 1970s, initially operating two wooden and six fibreglass boats before acquiring Springcraft and its boat moulds.
He also bought the classic Caribbean hull moulds on which so many Norfolk Broads boats are based.
He built Alphacraft up into a thriving business, increasing his hire fleet over the years and playing a major role in the holiday trade before it stopped trading in 2015.
Mr Jillings also worked with his father at Jillings Yacht Station in St Olaves, operating a small fleet of wooden cruisers for hire.
Outside work, Langford enjoyed learning to fly light aircraft, clay pigeon shooting, motorcycling and working on and driving Jaguar cars.
His name will live on at Langford Harbour in Brundall, named in recognition of his contribution to the area.
He leaves two sons, Langford Jr and Paul, who both worked with him at Alphacraft.