Son’s tribute to Horsham entrepreneur

Bill Laughton
Bill Laughton

The son of a Horsham businessman today said his father worked ‘tirelessly’ for more than five decades and made an ‘enormous contribution’ to the Horsham community (September 16).

Bill Laughton, founder of a Horsham electrical component distributor, died on Sunday September 8 after a short illness.

His son, Rob Laughton said: “My father worked tirelessly through over 50 years and made an enormous contribution to the well-being of local people and the local economy.

“All of us are very proud of what he has achieved and we will miss his insight, advice and his generous encouragement.

“We hope we can carry on developing the family business successfully for many years to come.”

Bill, who was 88, formed Aerco (Aviation Electrical and Radio Company) in a small, wooden workshop in Horsham in 1956.

Initially installing radio equipment into aircraft, the company rapidly developed its engineering and technical capability and a stock-holding and distribution service.

The company is now based at Lawson Hunt Industrial Park, Broadbridge Heath.

He worked every day continuing until the week before he died and saw Aerco develop into a major specialist electrical and electronics distributor with an annual turnover in excess of £13 million.

Bill was a pioneer of the UK electronics distribution industry.

He was one of a select band of trailblazers that included Fred Lane of F C Lane, George Stuart of Sasco, Alf Pegg of AWP, and Cyril (Lofty) Freeman who at that time was at Richfield Electronics.

All these entrepreneurs formed companies in West Sussex and went on to run successful and long-lived businesses.