Friends and family have paid tribute to the popular chairman of Newport-based Brace’s Bakery, who has died after a short illness, aged 96.
Colin Brace OBE, a former Monmouth School for Boys’ pupil, was chairman of the family bakery business and the grandson of the founder.
He had worked for the business since the end of the Second World War and remained actively involved until his death last week (Monday 12th February).
The Old Monmothian was awarded an OBE in 2013 in recognition of his life’s work at Brace’s Bakery and for his commitment to his family and local community.
Son Jonathan Brace, who runs the firm with brother Mark, said: “He will be missed by the family. But it’s also a big loss to the baking industry. There are not many people with his amount of experience. He was always working. It was his life.”
Brace’s Bakery was established in 1902 by Colin’s grandfather, George Brace.
Colin’s commitment to quality and customer service has resulted in the growth of Brace’s Bakery from a small local concern to a major supplier, employing over 300 people.
Educated at Monmouth School for Boys, Colin was a boarder in School House.
He played rugby in the same side as John Gwilliam, one of Monmouth School for Boys’ greatest players, who won 23 caps for Wales.
“Colin was a lovely man who played at hooker in our great 1940s school rugby side led by John Gwilliam,” recalled fellow Old Monmothian, Bob Blake.
“I was President of the Old Monmothian Club and I was involved in an event to bring people from the 1940s rugby team together.
“Six of us, including Colin, had a get together in the New Forest and we had two or three other hugely enjoyable meetings.”
After leaving Monmouth, Colin enlisted in the Army for the Second World War and was Captain of The Gunners before joining the family business in 1946.
He took control of the business in 1979, when it was transferred from his father.
Mr Blake added: “I went to Colin’s 90th birthday party and I saw him at other times too.
“Colin was a very nice man, a generous host and a smashing chap.
“He was a fantastic businessman and his hugely successful bakery business has provided employment for many people.”
Mr Brace won a schoolboy rugby cap for Wales, was an active member of The Rotary Club of Blackwood and the president of Mynyddislwyn Male Choir.
His funeral service will take place on Friday 9th March at Langstone Vale Crematorium for close family and friends only at 11.30am.
The family are expecting a large number of mourners and have hired a room at the Celtic Manor Hotel where the service will be screened live via a video link.