Robert (now known as Bob) Baker is still lucky enough, after one spell of bowel cancer and one replacement hip, to be enjoying work at the age of 80.
He left KEGS with very few qualifications but a great entrepreneurial attitude. His career has given him many different opportunities to use his talents both as a farmer and grower, an industrial builder and now, manager of a Sushi factory. He had two children with his first wife, Gill then three more with his second (and last!) wife Trish.
Starting with nothing, on the way was a spell as a lorry driver, corn dealer, pig producer, PYO strawberries, ware potato production, and then he gained a name for producing seed potatoes both here and abroad. About this time, the cancer raised its head and the decision was taken to cease potato production and hand the seed company to its former Sales Manager. The company R & P Baker Seeds Ltd is still operating successfully and Bob is still farming with conservation in mind.
A run-down gravel pit in Woolpit came on the market and Bob and Trish fell in love with the surrounding 60 acres of meadows and trees. In order to maintain this as a conservation area, they saw an opportunity to turn the central 10 acres into a thriving and attractive Industrial Park. This brought several prestigious companies to join Woolpit Business Park and Bob takes pride in the 900-plus jobs which have been created in Woolpit.
A tenant at Earl Stonham was a Japanese company that made Sushi for supermarkets. The owners decided to pull out of the UK, which would have meant many local redundancies, so it was decided that the Business Park would buy the business. Bob and family have had to learn quickly about Sushi production. ‘Ichiban UK’ continues successfully today. The latest venture is a new Business Park by the A14 and Bob is happily driving the excavators and earth moving equipment there, as the site is developed. Over the years, family members have joined us in our enterprises so, hopefully, the businesses will continue to thrive.