Tributes to Festival Founder, Stephen Joll

TRIBUTES have been paid to a businessman who helped lead the campaign to buy a rare 1844 edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ for Malton.

Stephen Joll, who was 69 and lived in Scagglethorpe, passed away in February 2017 following a battle with cancer.

Born in Barnsley, Stephen grew up in a butchers and was put to work at a young age by his father. He subsequently spent his youth in Blackpool at college, before founding his own meat packing business with his wife, Dorothy.

His family business went from strength to strength, supplying major supermarkets, packing lamb. As his firm grew he sponsored sporting events and clubs including Yorkshire Cricket and Sheffield United, he witnessed the Hillsborough disaster on the stands, but his love of football never waned

“Stephen had a great passion for Dickens and his association with Malton,” she added.

“He had great energy and verve and delighted in hosting special guests Miriam Margolyes and Lucinda Hawksley at our now annual Christmas Dickensian Festival, his down to earth Yorkshire humour certainly found its match with Miriam’s.

“Stephen was warm, generous and funny. Always, a countryman at heart, he kept countless animals at his home in Scagglethorpe, his much loved Jack Russell, Tilly, countless cats, chickens, donkeys and supported Dorothy inrescuing ex-racehorses.

“Stephen was totally dedicated to Dorothy, who he was married to for 50 years, and due to her own ailing health never wanted to leave her on her own for long, even with his own cancer treatment he cleaned, washed sheets, mowed the lawn, fed the animals, lit fires, nothing it seemed could stop him.

“His own dogged persistence on keeping going despite immense fatigue and pain was a lesson to us all. I am so lucky to have known Stephen, a huge character, a tower of strength to his wife, a doting family man and proud grandad to Harry, Jack, Lilly and Matthew and loving dad to Emma and Simon. His absence is palpably felt. He was much loved.”

Selina said: “Stephen was a dear friend and a joy to know. Full of humour and Yorkshire directness, when I asked him if he would work with Clair and me to buy Dickens A Christmas Carol at auction in New York he didn’t hesitate. He embraced Dickens and Malton – the town was lucky to have Stephen.”

Picture shows: Clair Challenor-Chadwick (Malton Dickensian Festival Director, with Stephen Joll and Selina Scott)