Essex philanthropist and businessman Sir Jack Petchey turns 96 this week

SIR Jack Petchey, founder of one of the UKs most successful business empires and of youth charity the Jack Petchey Foundation, turns 96 years on 19th July 2021.

To date, Sir Jack Petchey has invested over £143m from his businesses in opportunities for young people across London and Essex to thrive and be the best they can be.

In the 21 years since the Jack Petchey Foundation was established, over 200,000 young people have been recognised with a prestigious Jack Petchey Achievement award and over 10,000 leaders and teachers have been trained through the Foundation. 

Sir Jack says his 96 years have passed by very quickly and he has lived life to the full. To celebrate his birthday, the Jack Petchey Foundation has launched a competition asking young people to imagine what the world will be like in 96 years’ time for the chance to win the grand prize of £500.

Jack Petchey’s Forward to the Future competition is open for entries now until 30th September from any young person aged 11-19 from London and Essex.

Entries to the competition can span a range of creative means to explore this topic – including writing, art, videos, music, photography and anything else that explores the topic of a positive vision of life in 2117. 

Young people can view the full terms and conditions and enter the competition via the Foundation’s website:https://www.jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk/forward-to-the-future-competition/

Information about Sir Jack Petchey’s Life

Born in 1925, shortly after the last pandemic and just before the 1930s economic crash, the now successful business mogul Sir Jack Petchey CBE grew up in East London from very humble beginnings, leaving school at age 13 to work for the local green grocer.

At age 17, he joined the Royal Navy where he learned vital skills in maths, algebra and geometry, and was put forward for Officer training. But after 3 months he didn’t get through the selection process and upon enquiring why he was rejected, he was transferred to the Fleet Air Arm – the  aviation branch of the Royal Navy.

After World War Two, he was discharged from the Navy in January 1947 with only a small fee to pay his rent. Sir Jack returned to his former job as an office boy at the Solicitor’s Law Stationary Society in East London. 

With ambition and a deep desire to grow within the business, Sir Jack asked to be trained as a manager only to be told he was “not management material”. Rather than accept this rejection, he handed in his notice and decided to set up a business on his own.

Faced with no income and a need to pay his way, Sir Jack bought an old car and used it to start a taxi service often waiting at the docks as ships arrived and taking them to central London to catch trains home.

The business expanded as he acquired a fleet of cars to hire, before realising that selling cars was more profitable. He established a chain of garages and, after a short while, realised that selling properties was even more profitable than that.

Sir Jack first embarked in the property business in 1954 which rapidly grew into Petchey Holdings which now manages a commercial portfolio which includes over 4 million sq. ft. of industrial properties and over 350 residential flats in central London. 

Sir Jack has always focused on giving back to the community and to formalise this, he established the Jack Petchey Foundation in 1999, a grant giving organisation that funds a wide variety of opportunities for young people across London and Essex.

Sir Jack is very keen to share what he has learned with young people. Reflecting back on his life, he believes that his greatest investment has been in young people and the work of the Jack Petchey Foundation, which has inspired thousands of young people to believe in themselves and achieve more. 

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