TRIBUTES have been flooding in for a “giant” of the Worcestershire business scene from prominent figures in the county.

Mr Duckworth had been president of Worcestershire CCC since 2019, and club chairman Fanos Hira paid his respects, saying: “I was deeply saddened to recently hear of Cecil’s ill health.

"I had the pleasure of getting to know Cecil whilst he was President of our club.

"He will be greatly missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

"This is a very sad day not just for our Club, but the whole of Worcestershire and beyond.”

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In 1962, Mr Duckworth set up the Worcester Engineering Company, which later became Worcester Heat Systems and key to the manufacture of the revolutionary combi-boiler.

The firm was sold to Bosch in 1992. Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch, said: “Cecil was a unique person, an extremely talented businessman and entrepreneur, a pioneer, a visionary, an Innovator and at the same time a dedicated family man and a caring, fun person to be around, and of course a keen supporter of the Worcestershire area.

"He was simply one of life’s good guys and he will be sorely missed.”

He was also deeply involved in some of the region’s best known charities, including Acorn’s Hospice, to whom he donated the first £1 million needed to open their centre in Worcester in 2005.

In 2008, he was granted Freedom of Worcester in a special ceremony at the Guildhall in recognition of his efforts.

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Worcester’s MP Robin Walker said: “I have many fond memories of Cecil Duckworth from first meeting him at the triumphant reopening of the Diglis factory after a fire nearly destroyed his business, to standing with him on the cold touchline at the edge of a rugby field.

"He was always a figure of inspiration, kindness and wisdom to me and his life has helped so many thousands of people around Worcester.

"I was proud as Worcester’s MP to see him receive it and as long as I live I will be proud to have known this great man.”

Gary Woodman, chief executive, Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, paid tribute to a “giant” of the county business community, praising his kindness in giving out his time and advice.

Sharon Smith, HW Chamber of Commerce chief exec, said: “The Chamber has had a long and enjoyable history working with Cecil on many projects, with many of our current and previous employees having the pleasure to have known and worked alongside him.

"His passing will be a huge loss to the local business community and his memory and achievements will be forever part of our wonderful history.

"Cecil was a true gentleman and dedicated his life to business in Worcestershire and will be remembered with the love, warmth and compassion that he showed to others.”