Tributes have been pouring in to the family of well-known and respected Gloucestershire businessman Tracey Pope, a man described by his brother as a 'gentle giant', who has died aged 58.
It might have been his stature that struck you first, but the abiding memory for many will be his lack of ego, a readiness to laugh and the disarming way he had with everyone he met – although together with his younger brother Kevin the pair forged a formidable partnership in business.
It was a journey which began at the family home in Tudor Street, Linden, with work starting for Tracey with a paper round, aged 11, while he was still at Hucclecote Secondary School. By the time of his passing, on Tuesday 3 January 2023, that journey was bookended with the decade-plus long success story that is the multi-award-winning county-based Protrack Group.
The brothers' latest venture, fledgling company Biostart Security, won Most Innovative Business of the Year at the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards 2021 and last year secured its European patent paperwork, sparking conversations with major potential partners that could lead to some serious growth.
Kevin, whose own working life began when he took over his then teenage older brother’s second job cleaning milk floats in the city, said: 'As a family we have been absolutely astonished, bowled over and flattered by the sheer volume of kind messages and phone calls that we have been receiving since Tracey's passing.
‘The support of the county’s business community has been overwhelming. It means an incredible amount to us as a family.'
He added: ‘Tracey was involved in so much still, inside and outside work. Last year he discovered motorbikes and he co-founded the May Hill Chapter of the Masonic Motorcycle Club with Mike Collins.
‘People just warmed to him. He was a loving father to his children and grandchildren. The family is devastated. If you wanted a dad or a grandad, Tracey was the man you would have chosen.
‘But most of all, for me, he was the perfect brother.’
With two businesses to run one of Kevin’s first calls immediately after Tracey's death was to Protrack non-executive director Nick Laird for advice.
‘Nick listened, then his first question was ‘what do you want me to do?’. The next thing I knew he had turned up with Will Abbott and in 24 hours they had the financial side of the business sorted. It was amazing.
‘It is not an easy time, but it is business as usual. That is thanks in no small part to them, what they did, and all the support we have had,’ said Kevin.
Will Abbott, a partner at accountants and business experts Randall and Partner, said: ‘Tracey was an astute businessperson, capable of a robust conversation, but you always came away thinking it was a fair result for everybody. He was a people person – no question about that.
‘I think while he was very good at what he did and clearly successful, he also realised there was more to life than just making money.’
Tracey Pope is survived by his mother, Ann, wife, Wendy, son and daughter James and Sophie, and grandsons Archie and Jacob.
The funeral is planned for Gloucester Crematorium on Friday 3 February from 11.30am to 12.15pm with a wake afterwards at Wotton Hall Social Club, Barnwood, and an evening send off at the Cross Keys pub in Gloucester city centre. All are welcome to the wake.