ERIC Whiteway, a city councillor for 18 years and prominent member of Devon’s Whiteway cider family, has died aged 91. He was born at Whimple, in April 1919. His father Reginald was the youngest son of Henry Whiteway, founder of the Whimple Cider business started in 1900.

The original cider press was at the Tan Yard and later extended across the road on land near the railway owned by his wife Edith, who was also born in Whimple.

In the 1920s, Henry Whiteway retired and his eldest son Ronald became managing director. Cider sales increased to a million gallons a year. Whiteways Cyder Co Ltd was formed in 1934. Three hundred workers were employed by the company. There were branches in London, Newton Abbot and Sheffield.

Reginald Whiteway became manager of the company’s London office and the family moved there in 1921.

Eric was educated at schools in Wimbledon and at Sherborne, Dorset, and London University.

After the war started Eric joined the Army and in 1942 went to India as a cadet, being later commissioned into the Royal Artillery, serving in Indian regiments in Assam, Sri Lanka and the Cocos Islands.

He joined Whiteway’s Cyder Company Limited in 1947 and returned to Whimple in the production department under his uncle, Herbert Whiteway.

He worked at the factory for 40 years as production manager and later as chairman.

In 1948 he married Adrienne Jackson whom he first met at University College, London. Adrienne died in June 2006, leaving substantial bequests to many charities, and to Exeter Cathedral.

Eric Whiteway became a director of Whiteway’s Cyder Company Limited in 1950 and following the death of Richard in a motor accident in 1980, he became chairman of the company until retiring in 1986.

His interests since 1948 were primarily with vintage and veteran cars, in particular early examples of the Ford Model T, Daimler and Rolls Royce.

In the 1960s he was active in politics in Exeter and served for 18 years on the city council.

Later he became president of the Exeter Conservative Association. In 1993 he was elected president of the National Association of Cider Makers.

© Express & Echo – 6/9/2010