Jean Grieves receives BSB honorary membership

Source: British Society of Baking

Jean Grieves receives BSB honorary membership in 2007

Tributes have poured in for Jean Grieves, a beloved bakery lecturer and industry veteran who passed away on Boxing Day from motor neurone disease.

After gaining her Masters, she imparted her skills to others as a renowned tutor, first at Sheffield Polytechnic and then Tameside College where, as well as head bakery tutor, she became assistant principal. Students were, and still are, proud to say they studied under Jean Grieves.

During her career, she had taken a course at the Richemont Club, then volunteered to work holidays in Switzerland and Germany to improve her skills. Later, she went on to win gold medals at Hotelympia and the prestigious Table D’Honneur (twice).

She spent many years judging categories for the Baking Industry Awards, most notably, Baker of the Year. She took the trouble to give detailed feedback when asked, always with the intention to raise standards.

After early retirement in 1998, she was pioneering in starting The Bakery School Online, writing 60 training modules. She also took on chairmanship of the British Society of Baking for 12 years. At the same time, Jean was raising many thousands of pounds for outside charities – her efforts at everything were tireless.

She was invited to join the British Confectioners’ Association of leading confectioners. Jean received the Freedom of the City of London in October 2006 and was very proud to become a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Bakers.

Former British Baker editor Sylvia Macdonald said: “Jean became the only person to be given the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry’, twice. First by Baking Update magazine and 25 years later by British Baker. She was wise, kind, a person of deep faith and always giving back to the people and industry she loved.”

Mike Holling, sales & marketing director of Birds Bakery and former executive director of the Craft Bakers Association, shares his memories of ‘Auntie Jean’:

“My first memories of Jean were during a visit to the bakery school at Tameside College in the early nineties. Jean had a great passion for the craft baking industry, and this showed in the standards that the bakery students achieved.

Jean was well respected by many and had an amazing number of contacts from within the industry and further afield. If you received a letter requesting to speak at a conference or to her baking classes, you always made sure you were available to attend.

I was fortunate to be involved with Jean in many projects regarding the bakery school and the promotion of our great industry with the Craft bakers Association and Jean was a great ambassador in promoting the bakery students at every opportunity.

Jean Grieves will be remembered as a bakery legend, I have many treasured moments which I will always remember with Auntie Jean. She may have gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.”

Neil Woods, industry veteran and recipient of Outstanding Contribution to the Baking Industry 2021, reflects on his time with the ‘doyen of bakery’:

“I first met Jean in 1967 when I was lucky enough to be awarded a place on a student course visiting the Bakery School in Innsbruck, Austria. Jean was one of the team of lecturers that accompanied the students and, as I still recall even after all these years, that she was very enthusiastic regarding all aspects of the bakery course and helped to make it a very memorable time for all who attended.

For my part it set me on my journey with my career to which I will always be grateful to her.

Jean of course continued with her own career, her contribution to our industry was vast and what she accomplished in the various roles that she took on was astonishing. To say that she was the doyen of our industry is an understatement.

It was a privilege for me to have known her and her name will be remembered in the bakery world for some time.”

Jean Grieves funeral will be at Our Lady & St Christopher’s RC Church 52 Barrack Hill, Romiley, Stockport SK6 3BA on Thursday 8 February at 12pm. The reception afterwards takes place at Our Lady & St Christopher’s Church Hall (behind the church).

Should you wish to give a donation, please mark them “In Jean Grieves’ memory” and send them to St Anne’s Hospice, c/o Ian Mann & Son Funeral Directors, 90 Lower Fold, Marple Bridge, Stockport, Cheshire SK6 5DU.