The business was founded by Bill’s father in 1919, on his return from the First World War.
Based in Blackburn, the business started by making deliveries in East Lancashire and the docks in Liverpool on behalf of the local cotton industry. Following the sudden death of his father in 1955 just after the business had bought itself out of nationalisation, Bill took over the company at the age of 19. He was later joined in the business by his brother Ken, son Bill, his nephews, grandson and his great niece.
Bill was actively involved in many local community and charity organisations. He was chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, chairman of Blackburn Magistrates and, in 2006, received an MBE for services in the administration of justice in Blackburn.
Now headquartered in Preston, W H Bowker has nine UK sites. It also owns the Bowker Motor Dealership Group, comprising BMW, Mini, Maserati, Harley Davidson and BMW Motorrad in Blackburn and Preston.
Bill’s wife Rosemary passed away in 2013. He is survived by his son Bill and daughter Elizabeth.
The funeral service will be held on Friday 29 September at 11:45am at St. Bartholomew’s Church, Chipping, near Preston.