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Sir Frederick Catherwood: Ulster-born tycoon was vice-president of European Parliament

Sir Frederick Catherwood, who died recently aged 89, was an Ulsterman who made an important contribution to public life in Britain and as a long-time President of the UK Evangelical Alliance. He was born in Castledawson in 1925 and was brought up in Belfast. His father owned the well-known Catherwood bus transport company.

Fred was educated at Shrewsbury School and at Clare College, Cambridge, where he read history and later law. In 1951 he qualified as a chartered accountant.

He joined the large Costain construction company and swiftly became its Chief Executive. He later became managing director of British Aluminium, and his senior industrial roles placed him in close contact with some of the leading politicians of the day. He was appointed as the head of the National Economic Development Council. Its main purpose was to unite the business world, trade unions and the Government in a mutually beneficial drive to improve economic growth.

Sir Fred left after five years and was knighted for his services. He resumed his successful career in business and became managing director of John Laing. He retained an interest in politics and he was one of the first Conservatives to be elected to Europe, holding the position of vice-president of the European Parliament from 1989-92.

After retirement as an MEP for Cambridgeshire in 1994, he devoted much of his time to church work, and he served as President of the UK Evangelical Alliance.

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