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Tributes pour in following passing of industry “pioneer” Ken Gillespie

Michael Garwood
December 11, 2015

Family, friends and colleague praise founder of former dealer National Communications 

The telecoms industry has paid tribute to mobile veteran Ken Gillespie, who passed away on November 30 at the age of 85.

His son Ian, who headed up former airtime distributor Fone Logistics and is currently managing director of O2 Direct Partner Activ Telecom, said: “He was passionate about his customers and employees, and always ready for a laugh.”

Gillespie, who was a butcher by trade before moving into the motor industry, founded National Communications in 1985.

Three years later, National became a service provider for BT Cellnet and Vodafone, before selling the business to Aztec Communications in 1996. He then retired and built a villa in Portugal, living there for 14 years.


Former Cellnet/Telefónica sales and marketing director and Vodafone UK managing
director Stephen Brewer, who worked closely with Gillespie, labelled him a “pioneer” who helped shape the industry.

“He was tough, but fair, a family man, a moderator in a fledgling industry and full of surprises. But above all, a gentleman that I was proud to call a friend.”

David Savage, who was managing director of Aztec Communications when it acquired National, remembers Gillespie’s bubbly character from a dealer trip to the Caribbean in the early 1990s.

“I have very fond memories of Ken. He was great fun and a really genuine, nice bloke, but sharp as anything in the workplace.

“In the good old days, we went on a Cellnet jolly to Mustique in the Caribbean by Concorde. On the way back, myself, Ken and a few others took the Frank Sinatra song My Way and changed the lyrics to depict what happens when you sell to customers. I don’t know anyone who has a bad word to say about him.”

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