Hugh Weeks, one the bakery industry’s leading confectionery experts and demonstrators, has passed away, aged 85 years.
Widely respected across the trade, Hugh held positions including head of the demonstration department at cake decoration supplier Renshaw.
He was an honorary member of the British Confectioners’ Association; a judge at many bakery and food competitions; and a keen supporter of charitable and training initiatives, holding the role of president of the National Federation of Bakery Student Societies, now the Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees.
Hugh received British Baker’s Baking Industry Award for a lifetime of service to the industry and was elected a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Bakers in 2006.
“Hugh Weeks was a legend, a true craftsman. His passion for creating perfect confectionery was only matched by his enthusiasm for passing on his skills and knowledge,” said The British Confectioners’ Association.
Hugh’s career began at his father’s bakery in Uckfield, Sussex, and he joined Renshaw as a demonstrator in 1957.
He worked his way up to become head of the demonstration department and an associate director of the company, which said he “succeeded brilliantly at a task that combined the roles of demonstrator, technical expert and expert presenter”.
“He was a very caring manager of his team, and took a personal interest in their wellbeing, and that of other members of the company, not only during his career, but right up to the present day,” added Renshaw.
Hugh’s work with the company took him to bakeries and food companies of all sizes in the UK and overseas. He was one of the few people allowed airside at Heathrow airport to supervise the loading of fragile food samples.
One of his tasks was to monitor supplies to, and work with, the catering team at Buckingham Palace. Hugh worked very hard to maintain and develop the relationship with the Palace team, said Renshaw, offering help and advice when needed.
He also prepared and managed the Renshaw Cup course.
Hugh retired in January 1995 but, right up until his death this month, he continued to support charitable and training initiatives.
Industry pays tribute to Hugh Weeks
Alliance for Bakery Students and Trainees (ABST)
“It is with enormous sadness that we heard the news that Hugh Weeks has passed away.
“As a past president and regular competition judge, Hugh has a special place in the history and heart of the ABST and we shall fondly remember him for his passion for excellence in baking, and his determination to pass on his vast knowledge and skills to countless students down the years.
“He was always ready and willing to talk to the student body about the art and craft of baking; and he shall be greatly missed for his patience and understanding as he generously gave of his time and experience to those at the beginning of their careers.
“The executive committee and all of the members of the ABST extend our sincere condolences to Hugh’s family and friends at this sad time.”
Tim Cutress, Hon Secretary, The British Confectioners’ Association (BCA)
“Hugh was elected as a member of the BCA in 1973, having been proposed by my father, Tony Cutress.
“In my lifetime I have been fortunate to see many of the top demonstrators. Without doubt the quality of Hugh’s craftsmanship together with his unique verbal accompaniment made him the finest of his generation.
“In 2004 Hugh was made an honorary member of the association and he has continued to attend virtually every one of the five meetings, held each year hosted at members’ businesses in the United Kingdom and abroad, up until our last AGM held in Belfast in September 2017.
“Successive chairmen have benefited from his unstinting support, including being MC, organising our unique table plan ballot which prevents the formation of cliques, judging product appraisals and organising displays at exhibitions.
“He has always found time to assist anyone with a product issue particularly if it involved almonds!”