IT was as if someone, somewhere, had noticed. Because when businessman Elmer Cookson died at the age of 89, two of the buildings most associated with his career went too.

Bulldozers have just flattened the Ebenezer Bayliss factory at the top of London Road in Worcester to make way for a Waitrose store and over in Kidderminster the Cheshires Printers building in Coventry Street has recently been demolished as part of a local redevelopment scheme. Both may be gone, but the Cookson legend and legacy remains.

His daughter Alice Bennett said: “My father lived a long and full life, was loved and admired and will be greatly missed by all of his family. He was a fantastic role model and what a legacy he leaves behind him. What a coincidence that during the week preceding his death the site of G.T. Cheshires & Sons Limited, where Elmer worked until retirement, was totally demolished and reduced to an empty site.

“He became a well respected and successful businessman. He was always fair and kind to his workforce and they trusted his judgement and advice in many matters. During his career he dealt with troublesome unions, a severe fire which broke out at Cheshires due to an electrical fault and many other on-going challenges. He steered the company with skill and foresight through changing times and through the technological revolution in the printing industry. His passing will, indeed, leave a hole in many people’s lives but he will be well remembered.”

Mr Cookson was an accountant by profession and in the early 1950s began working on the annual audit and accounts for GT Cheshire and Sons before accepting a job as company secretary there. He rose through the ranks to become managing director while still in his 20s and remained there until his retirement.

He was also headhunted to take a leading role at struggling book printers Ebenezer Baylis, eventually becoming managing director and turning the business around and back into a profit making concern.

Mike Lewis, a leading union official who worked with Mr Cookson at Cheshires, said: "I found Elmer to be a very fair and even handed man with a great sense of humour. After being headhunted by Ebenezer Bayliss he swiftly reorganised the workforce and found new markets and new customers and very soon transformed the struggling concern into a highly successful business. Always sensible, with a clear vision he soon became trusted leader who took difficult decisions and made redundancies, but who ultimately saved this large Worcester company from going under.”

Mr Cookson's funeral was held at St Mary’s Church, Kidderminster. He is survived by his wife of 65 years Mary, daughter Alice, sons Andrew and John, as well as nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren.