A CLOTHING designer who was inspired to start his career in Wakefield has died.
Polish-born Henry Strzelecki, known as ‘Mr Henri’, founded the Henri-Lloyd brand which has become famous for its sailing, yachting and golfing attire.
He spent several years living in Wakefield after the Second World War, having served in the Polish 2nd Corps which became part of the British Eighth Army.
Mr Strzelecki studied textiles at Wakefield College and worked at the city’s Double Two factory, where he met his late wife Sheila.
Friends say he decided to live in Wakefield while he was passing through the city on a bus.
Clifford Hampson, who spent several years living with Mr Strzelecki on Burrell Street, Eastmoor, said: “He was looking for a job in Leeds, and on his way through Wakefield he decided he really liked the look of the place.
“He was a staunch Catholic and was really impressed by the cathedral here.”
Mr Strzelecki moved to Manchester in 1953 and formed Henri-Lloyd with Angus Lloyd 10 years later.
He died on Boxing Day, aged 87.
Mr Hampson, of Woodthorpe Park Drive, Sandal, said Mr Strzelecki was well-known in Wakefield for helping to form a community group for Polish soldiers who had served in the war.
He said: “Henry was absolutely one in a million. He was a great man and anyone who had anything to do with him really liked him.”
Mr Strzelecki was born in Brodnica but fled Poland when the Nazis occupied his town.
He was demobilised at Cannon Hall, in Barnsley, and chose to stay in the UK because Poland was, by that time, in the hands of the communist Soviet Union.
He was a keen sailor and was driven to start a business because he believed there was little adequate clothing available for sports.
Mr Strzelecki was awarded an MBE in 1985 for his services to clothing, and retired from Henri-Lloyd in 1996.
He leaves sons Paul and Martin, now joint chief executives of the company, daughter Diane, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.