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News > Obituaries > Jimmy Matthews (OB 1950-1959)

Jimmy Matthews (OB 1950-1959)

Residential care home was this entrepreneur’s greatest achievement
13 May 2024
Written by Martin Rowland

James Ian Matthews, known since his schooldays and throughout an entrepreneurial
career as ‘Jimmy,’ died at his home in Bellingdon on 23rd March 2024, aged 81. He
had been suffering from cancer for some time. The funeral took place at the
Chilterns Crematorium on April 11th .

Jimmy was born on 2nd September 1942 and was brought up in Shenfield. His dates
at Brentwood are not entirely clear but he entered the Prep in 1950 or 1951 and left
around 1959 after O levels.

He became engaged to Jeanne within six weeks of meeting her and they married in
1967. Jeanne, their children Nicki, Sarah and Chris and seven grandchildren have
survived him.

Nicki told the mourners: “Dad was an entrepreneur at heart and his skills enabled
him to set up a number of businesses over the years, some more successful than
others! We remember helping mum and dad in the cold stores at the Watford depot
of Interfreeze, separating frozen burgers, loading trucks and delivering around

Jimmy’s greatest business achievement was developing Rayners (Extra Care)
home at Amersham, founded in 1990 and steadily expanded. His son Chris joined
the firm and became managing director in 2003. Nicki explained: “Thirty four years
on, the reputation which Rayners has today is testament to what our parents wanted
to achieve---a centre of excellence in caring for the elderly with Chris and Jeanne
remaining registered managers. Dad always displayed enormous integrity in his
business dealings while all of us have benefitted from his help and wisdom over the

Jimmy’s commitment to his children and grandchildren was expressed though
“Sunday roasts, barbecues and family holidays in Devon, Norfolk and Corfu.” Jimmy
helped Nicki produce her first album, Soulmates. At the funeral, she and her friend
performed “He is no fool,” one of Jimmy’s favourites, from the album.

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