PLANS are being made to hold a memorial service for former Newport businessman John Wynn who died from Covid-19 in April.

A date is yet to be set due to the current restrictions.

Mr Wynn was 87 and a former director of Wynns, a family business which was set up in Newport in 1863.

Mr Wynn, who before joining the family firm undertook an apprenticeship at Fairfield Engineering in Chepstow, was born on October 28, 1932, the third child of Owen George Wynn and Marjorie. His father was one of five brothers who owned and operated the family’s long-established transport business Robert Wynn & Sons, which was based in Shaftesbury Street, Newport.

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Wynns is now based in Eccleshall in Staffordshire but has retained links with the past, by calling its buildings Shaftesbury House (after the firm’s first Newport site in Shaftesbury Street) and Albany House (after the firm’s huge premises on Albany Street).

In a tribute written by his son Peter, who is the fifth generation of the Wynn family to be in charge of the business, he said: “It was said that John learned to drive before he could walk. At the age of 16, without his father’s knowledge and having persuaded the depot foremen, he was driving 10-wheel rigid trucks on the London night trunk. A pattern was soon to emerge.

“Whenever he was on a transport job, John would often ask the driver to move over and let him drive which they did on many occasions. In fact, you could say his favourite pastime was driving.”

Mr Wynn's time at Wynns in the 1970s saw him take on some of the most challenging transportation jobs of the era, proudly challenging regularly for the Guinness Book Of Records for the largest loads moved on the UK roads.

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This was the largest load ever moved by road at the time. The job was managed by John Wynn, of Robert Wynn & Sons, Newport

And as work in Britain dropped off in the recession of the late 1970s, Mr Wynn cast further and further afield, taking personal charge of contracts that he had negotiated in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Nigeria and finally The Sudan.

He followed in the family tradition of never asking an employee to do a job that he was not himself willing or capable of doing. This approach earned appreciation, occasionally grudgingly, from his work force of hardworking post-war men and this admiration and appreciation was shown when, after the business being closed in Newport for more than 35 years, more than 50 ex-employees would meet quarterly to see each other and chat of times past, always organised and hosted by Mr Wynn.

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The evolution of Robert Wynn & Sons, which started with a horse and cart in 1863

When the Wynn business closed in Newport in 1982, Mr Wynn resigned and went to work firstly in the Sudan, where he had developed several long term contracts in the later part of the 1970s. This was followed by several months on the Falkland Islands where he supervised the offloading of the necessary airport building equipment and its safe onward transportation to the sites.

On his return and after a short spell in Hong Kong, enjoying and working again with old colleagues at Wynns, Mr Wynn spent his last working days behind the wheel of HGVs running steel to the Midlands from the steel works at Port Talbot and Llanwern. He only stopped after a heart attack led to a multiple heart bypass.

During his retirement, Mr Wynn chronicled the history of the family business in three books. He also gave countless talks on the history of the Wynns business.

He was a member of Probus and was president of the Newport branch in 2003/4 and 2007/8. His energy earned him an honorary life membership of the group.

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Robert Wynn & Sons held a parade through Newport to celebrate 100 years in business in 1963

Mr Wynn, who had attended Newport High School as a boy, played snooker as a keen amateur all his life and he also enjoyed bowls. In 1995 he joined NHOB Bowls club and became club captain in 2001 and 2002. When the club joined with Rogerstone Bowls Club, Mr Wynn became club president in 2010, serving until his retirement from office in 2015. He stopped playing both snooker and bowls in 2018.

Peter Wynn said: “The record shows a consistent theme. John was a ‘people person’. He made friends and stayed friends – as long as you agreed with him! A very respected member of the groups and fraternities he attended and always a willing volunteer himself to represent the life of a friend or colleague at their passing.”

Mr Wynn was married three times. His first wife Yvonne with whom he had two sons; his second Maureen who died in 1995 and his third Sandra, who has looked after him in the most trying of times following his diagnosis of prostate cancer more than 20 years ago.

He is survived by his wife Sandra, her two daughters Caroline and Kate, sons Robert and Peter and grandchildren Daisy and Harry, Melissa and Christopher.