Ex-Phipps brewery chief dies aged 90

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THE former chairman of Phipps Northampton Brewery Company has died.

Guy Phipps Walker was born on November 21, 1919, from two family lines; Phipps, whose name is synonymous with Northampton brewing, and Walker, who produce fine church organs.

Mr Phipps Walker, from Boughton, joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve at the beginning of World War Two and was assigned to HMS Erica, a Flower class Corvette, as second lieutenant and navigator.

His ship was attacked a German 
U-boat with depth charges in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on February 9, 1943 when the vessel struck a mine and sank within about 15 minutes.

Mr Phipps Walker was on the upper bridge and sustained severe spinal injuries but survived the ordeal.

He was transferred to the Springfield Hospital in Durban, South Africa, to recuperate before returning to the UK in a hospital ship, the Yeovil, from where he returned to his home in Dorset.

After further treatment, he later became a training officer teaching RAF pilots the art of ship recognition at HMS McCall in Cumberland. Mr Phipps Walker then became a successful lawyer and assumed the chairmanship of J. W. Walker & Sons, organ builders, a company which had been founded in Soho in London in 1826.

He then took on the role of assistant managing director at Phipps Northampton Brewery Company, largely on the legal side.

However, in 1960, Phipps Northampton Brewery Company was taken over by the London-based Watney Mann group, ending 159 years of independent brewing.

The remaining Phipps products were then absorbed by Carlsberg, who built its UK lager facility on the site in Bridge Street. Mr Phipps Walker became chairman after the brewery ceased production.

He was a regional director of Lloyds Bank for many years and a churchwarden of Boughton.

His ancestor, Pickering Phipps, purchased the property known as Collingtree Grange in the late Victorian era, and there is a pub names after him in Wellingborough Road, Northampton today..

Mr Phipps Walker was also chairman of the Friends of Ecton House, the former diocesan retreat and conference centre, a former rectory which was the spiritual heart of the diocese for many years.

Towards the end of his life, the war injuries sustained so long ago increasingly took their toll and he died peacefully on October 1.

Guy Phipps Walker married in 1945 and is survived by his wife, Audrey, and their son Nigel.