Town's biggest employer pays tribute to late F John Smith's 'vision and commitment'

Royston town councillor and local history expert F John Smith sadly died on Boxing Day

Royston town councillor and local history expert F John Smith sadly died on Boxing Day - Credit: Courtesy of the Smith family

Royston's biggest employer has joined the town in paying tribute to one of Royston's most well respected and influential characters, F John Smith.

F John died on Boxing Day at the age of 89, he was a serving town councillor at his time of death and held many positions and championed countless causes during his time in the town - earning him the well deserved nickname 'Mr Royston'.

As well as his community work and campaigning, F John's career saw him employed at none other than Johnson Matthey - where he worked for 37 years. The largest employer in the town and surrounding area has now paid tribute to their former colleague, who is remembered with much affection.


F John Smith as a young man in 1957, when he was Scout Master for the Senior Royston Scouts

F John Smith as a young man in 1957, when he was Scout Master for the Senior Royston Scouts - Credit: Courtesy of the Smith family

In a statement, a JM spokesperson said: "“The Johnson Matthey workforce at Royston would also like to pass their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of F John Smith – we were all deeply saddened to hear of his passing on Boxing Day at the age of 89.

"F John worked for Johnson Matthey at Royston from August 1957 to March 1994. Although there is no one still working at Royston who worked with him, his long record of service is remembered with great affection by his successors in our Clean Air business.

"F John was a chemist and part of the pioneering team in the 1950s and 1960s who helped to develop the emission control catalysts for vehicles which have helped to reduce the particulate emissions now known to be so damaging to human health. 

"The sophisticated catalysts we make today for the catalytic converters in car exhausts have helped to save thousands of lives around the world – and F John was there for a long part of our scientific journey.

"It is thanks to his and his colleagues’ efforts that we have a blue plaque at the Royston site in recognition for building the first catalytic converter.

Tributes have been paid to former Royston town councillor and local history expert F John Smith

Tributes have been paid to former Royston town councillor and local history expert F John Smith - Credit: Courtesy of the Smith family

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"His life-long commitment to improving air quality was recognised when he became Chair of the National Society of Clean Air, now Environmental Protection UK, a national charity providing expert policy advice on air quality, land quality, waste and noise.  F John was an outstanding environmentalist well ahead of his time.

"All of us at Johnson Matthey in Royston and beyond pay tribute to his vision and commitment.”


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