Industry mourns the loss of ‘dear friend’

The industry is mourning the sad loss of two of its most respected and admired servants, Bob Linwood and Dane Loosley.

Bob passed away suddenly on Wednesday after a long and distinguished career in the sector, most recently championing apprenticeships.

He helped set up AutoRaise in 2015 and remained CEO of the charity until 2021. His passion for supporting young talent remained though and in 2023 he and wife Morag formed Apprenticeship Central and ABLE TO in order to help businesses develop their own apprenticeship strategies.

The high regard in which he was held by colleagues has been evident in the outpouring of tributes.

Martyn Rowley, executive director of the NBRA, said: “We mourn the loss of our dear friend, Bob Linwood. His infectious laugh and warm spirit touched us all. Bob’s dedication to bringing young talent into our industry was unparalleled. A man of the people, devoted to family and charitable causes, especially in memory of his son Ethan.”

Ruth Moring-Beale, director of strategy and growth at Morelli Group, said: “Bob has been a close friend and colleague of all of us at Morelli Group for over 35 years, from when he was our  SIA representative through working with him during our membership of NIBS Group. We have worked with him in all of his other guises, from vrve and Create Motion to recently engaging with him to try to bring Apprenticeship Central and Eyebox together. Our involvement with Autoraise was driven by Bob’s passion for what he felt he could achieve for the industry and he was true to his principles of always having the good of the industry at the heart of what he did.

“But our overriding emotion on learning of his tragic passing is of losing not just a colleague, but a close and dear friend. Despite their family life being touched by tragedy, he and Morag were always happy to help anyone who needed them and Bob spread so much warmth wherever he went. We will all miss his bearhugs and infectious smile as well as his relentless enthusiasm for our industry. In our cynical world, that will be hard to replace. RIP Bob – it’s been a privilege to call you our friend.”

Mike Monaghan, business owner at Auto-Motivate, added: “Bob and I shared many great times. My memories of these will last forever. My sincere condolences go to Morag and his family and to all those I know who will miss one of our industry’s top blokes.”

Ian Pugh, Fix Auto UK MD, said: “Bob’s contribution to our community is immeasurable. Through his peerless work while at the helm of AutoRaise and his subsequent role through ABLE TO, he was a hugely respected figure who we could all turn to. Bob was more than just a friend; he was a pillar of strength, a source of inspiration and a beacon of kindness. His laughter and smile could brighten every room and his unwavering support touched the lives of everyone fortunate enough to know him.”

Meanwhile, Dane passed away on Monday at the age of 70. During his long career he worked with both Audatex and Allianz.

Automotive expert and Bodyshop Magazine columnist Andrew Marsh said: “I met with Dane a few years ago to help with a company dispute. I knew he’d worked with Solera internationally, and he had a major career in insurance – ending up at Allianz, also working internationally.

“He was raised in Leighton Buzzard, a modest and quietly spoken man – a real English gentleman. None of this describes the astoundingly sharp mind Dane possessed, where he could see through company and corporate matters with such clear vision – problems in his world existed only to be solved. I have met very few people with such a powerful mind. He will be missed.”