Founder Freeman James Dinsdale 1965-2020

James Dinsdale (L) received the Freedom from Foundation Master Alderman Sir Paul Judge in 2015

The Company records, with great sadness, the death of Founder Freeman James Dinsdale. James was admitted as a Founder Freeman at Skinners’ Hall in March 2015, and was active in speaking and mentoring for the then Guild of Entrepreneurs.

Arthur James Dinsdale was a colourful figure, who was, variously, a chartered accountant, business mentor and property developer. He was, at times, a school governor, parish councillor, ward chairman and finance director of various charities and not for profit organisations.

In accountancy he specialised in start-ups, insolvency and offshore. Over the last 30 years of his life he had equity interests in many projects including significant military contracts (he brokered the sale of 3 armoured divisions) and large commercial building projects (he helped finance the brick and stonework at the British Museum). He had hair-raising escapades in various far-flung parts of the world (he was nearly shot by French Legionnaires in Chad whilst trying to sell some tanks) and, even in more laid-back settings, was possessed of a somewhat visceral sense of humour. Conversations with James in his final years inevitably involved Too Much Information as he described in occasionally uncomfortable detail the latest round of invasive medical tests.

He is remembered wryly by his fellow Freemen for sharing slightly Too Much Information about his edgier business dealings whilst at an event at a prestigious independent school. It is strongly suspected, however, that despite (or perhaps because of) this slip, he was by some margin the most entertaining speaker of the day…

James had been desperately ill for the last few years. Several procedures to arrest the aggressive spread of prostate cancer were sadly unsuccessful and he was overwhelmed by his illness in October 2020.

James is survived by his son, William.

James’s funeral (Thursday 26th November) was a day of sadness, but also of humour and celebration of his short but impactful life. Into azure skies – and only mildly harassed by James’s elderly terrier, Millie – white doves were released to conclude a poignant service of reflection and remembrance. A liveried bugler played the last post as an homage to James’s service in the Territorial Army and his lifelong interest in military history. James’s son William eulogised with enormous warmth, before reading – firstly from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and then, rousingly, the St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Mourners were invited to sow poppy seeds as a living memory of James.

The Company of Entrepreneurs was represented by the Clerk, who offered condolences on behalf of the Master and James’s fellow Freemen.

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