Caroline Welch writes a tribute to her father, Jack Smith, who has died, aged 90:

ALTHOUGH a ‘Yellow Belly’ by birth, Jack was a proud Bradfordian, a businessman who created many job opportunities for Bradford and was a great supporter of the city.

Jack was the embodiment of ‘right place, right time’. He never thought of himself as academic, but was a team player, a grafter.

He was proud of his humble beginnings. His Lincolnshire mother, Ellen, fell pregnant aged just 18, married and moved into rented accommodation in Bradford with her husband, also Jack, who was a porter at the Great Northern Victoria Hotel. Ellen returned to Lincolnshire to give birth to Jack, a move he claimed was the only reason he was never able to play cricket for Yorkshire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack, middle front row, holding the ball, with his school football team Jack, middle front row, holding the ball, with his school football team

Jack returned to the house - a rear back-to-back with a ‘cellar head’ kitchen, an outside loo and a tin bath on a hook in the cellar (brought into the living-room on a Friday night to be filled with water from the range and bath the whole family).

In 1934, soon after Jack’s brother, Peter, was born, the family moved into a front back-to-back, with a side scullery kitchen and a view. Jack lived at 61 Fernsides Street until he married and moved out in 1958.

Jack was a hard worker at school - Drummond Road Infant School, Green Lane Primary School and Belle Vue Grammar School. Teenage Jack captained the school’s football team and enjoyed playing cricket with his friends. They joined the Boys Brigade at Sunbridge Road Mission, so they could play sport competitively, and so started a life-long affiliation with ‘The Mission’, and lifelong friendships with the Fernsides Gang.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack as a drummer with the Sunbridge Road Mission Boys Brigade Jack as a drummer with the Sunbridge Road Mission Boys Brigade

Jack’s father wanted him to be a footballer, but an accident with a cricket pitch roller, ending in a broken leg and ankle, the day before his school leaving certificate exams put an end to a football career. The schools career adviser suggested he applied for a role as Junior Office Boy at Sir James Hill and Sons, Wool Merchants and Topmakers, as the owner, Sir James, was mad on sport. He got the job.

Three months in, Jack was sent to Bawtry for National Service. Here he met lifelong friend David Blackburn, and together they set up a bible study group at the camp.

Returning to Bradford and Sir James Hill & Sons, this was the start of a long association with the company and his boss’s son, also Sir James. A junior office boy, Jack attended night school at Bradford College and in July 1959 passed his Chartered Institute of Secretaries exams. He became Finance Director of Hills’ Synthetics. He met and married his wife Betty at Hills, who was a constant support.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack and Betty on their wedding day in 1958Jack and Betty on their wedding day in 1958

The wool trade was in decline in the early 1970s; Hills decided to diversify and Jack’s idea was the holiday business. He met with Harry Goodman who wanted a northern arm to his travel operation, Intasun. Jack put together a business plan: a £24,900 investment bought a 49per cent share of Intasun North. Jack projected £17k profit in first year. Helped by Clarksons going bust in 1974, the investment made a profit of £210,000 in year one. By 1977 the annual profit was over £1m.

Intasun Group sold 2.5m holidays, introduced America to the offering, and in 1979 added an airline - Air Europe. In 1981 it was floated on London Stock Market. There were 11 UK offices, they had 20 per cent of overseas market, flew out of 22 UK airports to 40 foreign airports (Majorca the favourite - 133 flights a week). The group made £6.45m profit.

Bradford was the biggest office, employing 400 staff. The old warehouse where it was based, at Woolston House on Tetley Street, held the group computer, which took up an entire floor. The Bradford office also ran the client liaison department for the group.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack with his wife, Betty Jack with his wife, Betty

Whilst MD of Intasun, Jack was involved with ABTA, first as a member of ABTA’s Tour Operators Council, becoming its chair in 1984, before taking on the ABTA presidency in 1986. He was once responsible for taking 5,000 British travel agents to a convention in Australia. He was a popular figure in the holiday trade and never happier when speaking at travel business conferences or speaking with the press about problematic issues of the time. His no nonsense, charismatic charm won them over.

Towards the end of his presidency, he set up the ABTA Benevolent Fund, now ABTA LifeLine and remained an active member until 2012. After his ABTA presidency and the demise of Intasun in 1991, Jack took on varied roles in Bradford and West Yorkshire. He was chair of Charles Walls Group (an advertising agency), and Thermocable, a Bradford firm specialising in industrial equipment. He was a trustee at British Rail Eastern, SJH Pension Fund, Park Lane College and Bradford Health. In 1989 he was a founder member and chairman of Bradford Breakthrough, championing Bradford as a better place to live, work and visit.

In 1997 Jack was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Bradford for his contribution to the economic and environmental regeneration of the district and his promotion of business and employment. That year he also was instrumental in the Queen’s visit to Bradford Cathedral to hand out Maundy Money. He was Chairman of Bradford Rotary Club and named as a Paul Harris Fellow. In 2008 he was included in the list of Bradford College’s 175 Heroes.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack meets the Queen at a Maundy Money service at Bradford Cathedral in 1997Jack meets the Queen at a Maundy Money service at Bradford Cathedral in 1997

Jack died the day after his 90th birthday, one final target he was determined to hit. At his funeral, Sir James Hill, Philip Dyson, Jack’s retired pastor at Sunbridge Road Mission, and his son, Jonathan, gave eulogies. He will be deeply missed by his children, Jonathan and Caroline, grandchildren, Juliette and Cameron, and his partner for the last decade, Ruth, who has been a great companion since Jack’s wife died. There is a big Jack-Smith-shaped hole in a lot of people’s lives.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Jack was a leading figure in Bradford's holiday trade Jack was a leading figure in Bradford's holiday trade