Family speak of pride in John Wall's legacy

Proton Power Systems' chairman John Wall inspired many who knew him through everything from business ventures to charity work

John Wall, chairman of Proton Power Systems
John Wall, chairman of Proton Power Systems

The family of businessman John Wall, who died suddenly last week aged 60, have spoken of his legacy and the inspiration he brought to those who knew him.

Wall, who was chairman of the Newcastle-registered green transport company Proton Power Systems, had established a notable reputation within the region’s business community through a series of high profile roles in everything from multinational firms to charities and fundraising initiatives.

He died following complications after a minor operation and leaves behind wife Pat, sons Jonathan, Damian and Gareth, mother Eileen and sister Lynn Christie.

Wall was a devoted grandfather to Seth, Edie, Isabella, Lily and Poppy.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Jonathan said: “He instilled a lot of solid advice in our lives, teaching us never to expect anything and to always work hard for everything in life.

“He was a great man who made us what we are today and we are proud of everything he ever achieved in his life and the legacy he has left.”

Born in 1954 in Jesmond to parents, Raymond and Eileen, Wall attended West Jesmond Primary School, then Manor Park School, where he went on to become head boy.

After studying economics and accounting at Newcastle University - which last year made him an honorary professor through its business school - he trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Newcastle and Los Angeles, going on to become a full equity partner in the business for 17 years, from the age of 33.

During his time with the company, from which he retired in 2004, Wall co-founded the UK Corporate Finance business, taking on responsibility for its operation in UK regions, as well France and the Republic of Ireland. The work saw him leading a team of 20 partners and 200 professional staff, located in 15 ofices.

As well as sitting on the UK and European corporate finance boards, he was also a member of a small team of senior partners responsible for partnership admission across all disciplines.

Among the highlights of his career with PwC was his contribution to raising the finance required for the new Metro Radio Arena.

After leaving the firm, Wall became chariman of Albany RTA Group, which he sold to Helphire plc for £47m.

He also went on to hold the role of chairman at Adderstone Development and became a non-executive director of law firm, Dickinson Dees LLP.

Under his chairmanship, Proton - which produces fuel cells and fuel cell electric hybrid vehicles - attracted considerable interest in the green energy sector, with transport providers around the world seeing the potential of its technology.

Wall, who won a lifetime achievement award in the Nigel Wright North East Accountancy awards five years ago, was also known for his charity work, becoming chairman of The Princes Trust Development Committee in the North East.

Hobbies were likewise a significant part of his life, with Wall chairing the Northumberland lawn tennis and squash rackets club, and taking on the role of treasurer with the Beadnell Fishermen’s Society, with which he raised money to have the local harbour rebuilt.

Jonathan Wall added: “He actually designed his own house in Beadnell.

“He loved working with his hands and was actually a labourer in his early days to make money.

“He loved building things.”

A funeral will be held at  St George's Church, Osborne Road, Jesmond on Monday June 23 beginning at 10am.

From 11am onwards, all are welcome at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park, for a celebration of Wall’s life. Drinks and refreshments will be served.

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