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A True Gentleman

Author : Tim Fryer and Jane Fenwick

27 January 2012

Peter Middup

The FM community mourns the loss of PFM’s publisher Peter Middup who died suddenly just a week after the annual PFM Awards dinner

On Thursday 17th November 2011, the news filtered through to the staff at PFM that Peter Middup, our long-serving Publisher, had suffered a fatal heart attack the previous evening while on holiday with his wife, Julie, in Wales.

His ending was mercifully instant and he himself would have chosen no more fitting place to ‘sign-off’, as this area around Fishguard was his favourite part of the country. He and his wife had plans in place to ‘part retire’ there when Peter reached 65 – only 18 months away. However, his passing leaves so many of us feeling robbed of a true friend, role model and, in the true sense of the word, a gentleman.

Ironically, from a publishing point of view, Peter had recently initiated a number of ambitious plans to develop PFM and as such it was an exciting time for the team. It is tragic that Pete will not be there to guide us through these changes, but the very least we owe him is to proceed with the passion and integrity he would have done.

For his many friends and colleagues in the FM community the last memory of Peter would have been orchestrating another successful PFM Awards ceremony. This was held only one week before and Peter effortlessly glided around the 600 guests, looking remarkably healthy and happy - being greeted with warmth that only comes from genuine respect and friendship. And this typified Peter – a man with a gift for appearing comfortable in any company and equally making any company feel comfortable.

The role of publisher is not an easy one. Being the 'man in the middle' between the need and desire to publish quality and independent editorial while at the same time producing a profitable publication requires a strength that we all recognised on PFM. To do this at times through periodic ups and downs in the economy, and more recently through radical technological change and new challenges in the world of publishing, has demanded real business skill. Peter would be the first to recognise that he was a bit old fashioned in believing that it was important to 'put something back' into the business sector that puts food on our tables, and this he did readily through his contribution to the wider FM community and by is personal charm that earned PFM many real friends in the FM sector. This is why his sudden passing has been personal shock to us all at PFM's publisher IML Group, and to so many others in the world of FM. Peter's contribution to the ethos of PFM will continue despite his passing, and his memory will be warm in all our hearts.

It was no surprise that tributes flooded in - mostly with no desire for publication, of course, just to express shock and sadness. It was clear that Peter’s loss is a loss to the whole FM sector – he was an individual whose involvement in FM helped develop it into the successful and defined sector it is today. But it was clear from those tributes that for many the loss is a personal one. We at PFM are most grateful for all the support and messages of condolence we have received. Only a fraction are reproduced here but the sentiment is the same that a gentleman and supporter of the FM community has been taken from us all.
Tim Fryer, Editor and Jane Fenwick, Consultant Editor, PFM

Peter and I worked together for five years when I was editor of Premises & Facilities Management magazine. From 1994 when he took over as publisher, to 1999 when I left to join i-FM. He undertook the difficult job of balancing editorial and commercial priorities at a tough time for business to business magazines but steered the title through to some of its most successful trading years. He had a wry sense of humour and a good rapport with people throughout the business. Like most businesses, B2B publishing can be very competitive and in yet another challenging trading environment it’s all too easy to forget the common courtesies. Pete’s life and untimely death are a reminder of what’s really important in life.
Richard Byatt, Corporate & Public Affairs Director, BIFM

Peter was involved with the FMA since it began in 1995. Over the years he has tirelessly helped to drive and grow the Association to its current healthy state. Peter's ambition and drive for the FMA and our industry overall was second to none and he will be missed by all of our members and Board - past and present. We have all admired his knowledge, kindness, sincerity and passion for our industry and for life itself.
Chris Hoar, Facilities Management Association

Peter was much more than an industry acquaintance to me - over the 17 years I knew him he was very much a valued and personal friend. We had great fun playing golf at Gleneagles, Walton Heath and at his home club, Knowle Park. Ever the gentleman and always self-deprecating, he was looking forward to dusting down his old Porsche 911 and joining me and other friends on a wine tasting tour to Bordeaux in July next year. Sadly, we will miss his company but be raising a glass or five in memory of a truly great and much admired family man. Peter will leave a lasting legacy with his work at PFM magazine and the PFM awards - these icons will always remind us of my close friend and an inspiring industry stalwart.
Jeremy Waud, MD, Incentive FM

It was an honour to have considered Peter as a friend, a supporter of EuroFM and someone who has helped many of us share our ideas, successes and thoughts on the FM industry in his publications . He was generous in making sure that FM is recognised as the truly great industry it is. I personally will miss his dry sense of humour, the support and encouragement he gave me to make a career in FM and the support he gave EuroFM linking both the PFM and EuroFM Awards. A true legend in this industry, he will be sadly missed by our profession.
WayneTantrum, Chairman EuroFM

Barclays and PFM have worked in close collaboration for over 12 years and during this time we have had the privilege of getting to know Peter extremely well. We first met him when we were starting up a new team focussing exclusively on the FM sector and his knowledge and insight at that time proved invaluable to us in getting established. From the outset it was clear that we would enjoy working with Peter and he very quickly became someone who we held in very high regard – both professionally and personally. His personal warmth and charm and his positive ‘can do’ attitude was infectious. Furthermore, his love for the FM sector and for many of the people operating within it shone through in all of our discussions.
We have lost a true friend and he will be sorely missed by myself, Steve Francis and all of his friends from Barclays.

Nicki Thomson, Relationship Director, Business Services Barclays Corporate

I am very sorry to learn of the death of Peter Middup, who I came to know through his work with PFM and the PFM Awards. I enjoyed working with Peter and he will be much missed by all those who knew him in our industry and beyond.
Mark Fox, Chief Executive, Business Services Association

It was my pleasure to have associated myself and my business with Peter for over 20 years. In this time we shared moments of frustration, challenge and elation as we witnessed the growth of our FM industry. Peter was fundamental in ensuring the industry was informed and it was a pleasure to witness the growth and evolution of the PFM journal. It was due to Peter’s charm and persuasive nature that we sponsored the PFM Awards back in early 2000, and on three other occasions we were finalists. It was always great fun, great exposure and a fabulous evening, all overwhelming supported and encouraged by Peter and his team. We enjoyed many social events over the years but the golf at Knole Park was legendary. For those who played with Peter his generous hospitality will always be remembered.
Martin Jones, Europa

I first met Peter some 20 years ago and in all of that time I never ever knew him to loose his temper, to not be kind and courteous and to never mislead or misinform me – or anyone I know. In any person that would be notable but in the publishing world that pretty well makes him unique! He was always available for advice and guidance without my ever feeling that there would be an invoice to follow it up. In this mad, hectic electronic world Peter was an oasis of calm and old world manners. He always followed everything through and took it as a matter of course to ensure that everybody was happy with the result.
Alan Cossons, First Impressions PR

Peter was that rare combination of things - a businessman who never forgot that success can be measured in terms of enjoyment as well as £sd. Shrewd but unfailingly accommodating, Peter was a consummate relationship builder with a lovely dry sense of humour. Lunch with Peter was always something to look forward to. You knew you’d be in for good company, sparkling conversation, and a friendly ear. He may have disagreed with you, but he was always too polite, and too clever, ever to have told you so. As sponsors of the PFM Awards for the first time this year, we had the pleasure of seeing Peter at his best: giving his time generously to more than deliver on his promises, finessing the small details, and owning the event as only he could. Peter was everything that was good about business; his death is a sad loss to the FM sector.
David Sharp, MD, Workplacelaw

Peter was one of the world’s true gentleman, a great professional and keen supporter of the FM industry. His passing is a sad loss to the FMA Limited board and to the industry at large. A strong family man, he looked forward to his holiday in Wales after the PFM Awards. I feel I’ve lost a friend and confident who was always there to support and encourage, giving advice when asked. I feel very privileged to have enjoyed his company and his humour, and for knowing a true professional in every sense of the word.
John L Ellis, MD, Freidman FM Ltd

Unflappable, professional, trusted and a good friend with whom I felt completely at ease. Peter was for me a touchstone for clear unbiased opinion. He had a fantastic ability to give you at that moment, his full attention in the middle of other demands on his time.
I am absolutely a better person for having known Peter Middup.

Compton Darlington, Business Development Director, FSI

Peter was really one of the most genuine people that I have ever met. A gentleman in every sense of the word he conducted business in the way that it should be, allowing time to do things properly and get to know people. He was always courteous, considerate and above all with a smile on his face.
John Telling, Group Corporate Affairs Director, MITIE

It's true that you don't really realise what you have until it's gone, and in Peter that was a true gentleman through and through. Pete always made you feel important, liked and special. He was always so genuinely interested in what you were doing and what you had to say, and was consistently complimentary. Thinking back, I guess I took those compliments for granted, believing that I would soon be in his company again, lapping up his warmth, sincerity and humour, all spoken with that distinctive soft voice. A lesson learned. Take nothing for granted and cherish your friends and loved ones, for today is a gift, but tomorrow is not a given.
Trevor Carr, Director, The Hire Business

Peter’s family would welcome donations from his friends and colleagues in his memory to the Lifeboat Station in his beloved Fishguard. Donations should be made out to ‘The Fishguard Lifeboat Crew Fund’ and sent to: Jason Murrell, The Pendre Inn, High Street, Fishguard, West Wales, SA65 9AT.

Peter Middup 1948-2011 - A career in publishing

Peter Middup had been a stalwart of the company throughout the 20 years he worked for IML. Joining in 1991 from Director Publications, where he had risen to the position of Advertisement Director, Peter had previously worked at Roneo Vickers as a marketing trainee, then supply representative and ultimately machines sales representative for that company in the top five of their 150 strong national sales team. In 1973, he moved to Morgan Grampian, then the most significant and successful of the UK's business publishers. He became advertisement manager on Business Administration, later relaunched as Chief Executive in 1977, and also worked on Construction Plant and Equipment (previously the delightfully named Muckshifter!) and Tunnels and Tunnelling, before returning to the business sector with the Director magazine.

At IML he was promoted to Publisher of Business Equipment Digest in 1993, adding PFM to his portfolio shortly after, where he developed the annual PFM Awards into the most prestigious and successful awards night in the market. He was an active and influential Board member of several associations in the FM sector where he was held in high regard, and developed many good friends.

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