RICHARD Underwood, a member of one of Worcester’s best-known business families, has died at the age of 62.

He was the eldest of five brothers, sons of Peter and Mary Underwood, and a hugely popular figure in the city.

His wife Sue said: “Richard was a very sociable and well-respected member of Worcester life and I am sure will be greatly missed by many.”

After Hillside prep school in Malvern, Richard Frederick Underwood went to King's School Worcester until 1979. Following a year out travelling in Australia he took a place at Westminster College studying business. 

He then secured a job in London with a market research company to be followed by a position with BT analysing market research data. 

Although he was enjoying life in the city, Richard missed his family and the slower pace of life back in Worcester. So when his father said there was a position for him in the family builders merchants back home he moved back to Worcester in the late 80s.

When Bradfords bought the business in 2000, Richard initially stayed on, but then took redundancy and spent six months travelling the world with Sue.

On returning to the UK, his father Peter asked him to come into the steel stockholders business he was running with other sons Mark and David. 

Richard became company secretary where he stayed until his death.

After Peter Underwood died in April 2003, David (who died from cancer last year) took over the business in Worcester, while Mark ran the branch in Hereford. 

Peter had been a busy man and was on many committees and a member of several clubs. Richard stepped up and became a very active member of Hadley Bowling Club,  280 masonic Lodge and Worcester Clothiers, following in his father's footsteps. 

Richard also played badminton in Malvern and tennis at Bromwich Lane Lawn tennis club in Worcester. He was chairman until Sainsburys bought the land to build its supermarket in St. John's.

Richard then joined Worcester Golf and Country Club at Boughton Park, where he enjoyed playing golf and tennis, becoming chairman of the tennis section. He was also

a keen supporter of Worcester Warriors rugby where he was a season ticket holder until his ill health prevented him from going to matches. 

Richard - or  “Fred” as he was known at King's School - was a leading member of the old school community, becoming social secretary of the Old Vigornians and also president. “He was” said Sue, “a true gentleman.”

Richard Underwood died suddenly in Worcestershire Royal Hospital after six years with cancer. He leaves wife Sue, three step-children, seven grandchildren, a sister-in-law and three brothers and their families. 

A celebration and thanksgiving service will be held in Worcester Cathedral on Friday, January 20 at 2pm.