Tributes paid to former TVR sports car stalwart in Blackpool

Blackpool’s extended TVR family has been rocked by the death of  a man who worked at the sports car firm for more than 30 years.

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:02 pm

John Mleczek, 65, was a true TVR stalwart, joining the firm at its Bristol Avenue, Bispham, factory in 1974.

His father, affectionately known as Joe “the Pole” was one of the firm’s first employees taken on by company founder Trevor Wilkinson at its works in the former brickworks at Hoo Hill, Layton and John’s son Stuart completed the Mleczek family’s hat trick of generations, working at the company for five years.

He worked under the pioneering ownership of Martin Lilley and continued, in the body shop, when Peter Wheeler took over in the early 1980s.

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John Mleczek, seated centre in sunglasses, at a former TVR staff gathering organised by him at the Shard.

No other TVR employee family has such strong links across the full history of the firm, up to its demise in 2006 when owned by Nikolai Smolenski. Then John and 157 others lost their jobs just weeks before Christmas.

The famous name is now owned by entrepreneur Les Edgar, and is building its new Griffith model at its Ebbw Vale factory.

TVR car club member and long-standing friend, John Bailie from Poulton, said: “John was always welcoming, helpful, involving and friendly.

"He was an active member of the TVR Car Club and in spite of the hard times he endured in the latter stages of the company’s Blackpool history he retained a true affection for all things TVR, in particular the people associated with the marque. He always had time to talk, to reminisce and advise.

John pictured with former TVR owner Martin Lilley, left, and another TVR staff legend David Hives, right, who died in 2017

“His warmth for everyone he met shone through and, always the one to bring people together, it was John who organised the occasional gatherings of former employees at the local Shard riverside pub, ensuring that the true TVR camaraderie was preserved. He also maintained strong links with our the US branch of the TVR Car Club often attending their annual gathering as special guest.

Carole Newton, former secretary to directors at TVR, said: “It has been a privilege to have been one of John’s friends (and Jenny too) for many years as he was such a kind, generous and caring person.

"He was always happy to organise anything TVR based and we had some smashing get togethers thanks to John.

"Two or three times a year he would arrange an evening at a local pub for Martin Lilley and ex employees from all aspects of the build - body shop, paint shop, production, trimming, electrical, office etc and we would all have a good trip down memory Lane with our old photos and stories!”

John, right, with designer David Hives prior to a trip to the USA to meet TVR car club fans

John is survived by wife Jenny, son Stuart and daughter Charlotte.

His funeral will be held at Lytham Crematorium on Wednesday, December 1.

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TVR car tribute to firm's former stalwart