Tributes paid to popular businessman who died after health problems

editorial image
Have your say

Tributes have been paid to a respected Sunderland businessman who has died after a short illness.

David Hawes founded East Durham company Peterlee Glass, which began life with a humble list of local customers in the 70s.

Today, it is a firm with a multimillion-pound turnover, employing more than 30 people.

David – a devoted husband to Norma, dad of Wendy and Graeme, grandad of Jack and Ellie – dedicated his life to his family and the business, until he died aged 70 earlier this month.

His son, Graeme Hawes, the current managing director of Peterlee Glass, said: “My dad was a well-respected businessman whose determination to see Peterlee Glass succeed never left him, even right until the end.

“His interest in the day-to-day operations of the business was infectious. It was his baby and he felt responsible for that and all of the people involved in it. They were like his family.

His interest in the day to day operations of the business was infectious; it was his baby and he felt responsible for that and all of the people involved in it. They were like his family

Graeme Hawes, son of businessman David Hawes who has died aged 70

“Away from work he was the best dad and grandad anyone could have wished for and will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.”

David had a great enthusiasm for the glass business, working as a driver and glazier in his early career, and quickly picked up on opportunities within the industry.

He worked with Alpine double glazing, and from then was determined to have his own business.

David opened Peterlee Glass in 1977 and concentrated on glazing work and emergency boarding up.

He realised the greater potential and expanded and incorporated Peterlee Glass in 1981 to its current location at Lister Road in Peterlee.

His love of decorating glass was ingrained and no matter what medium was used – etch, paint or carved – the satisfaction of seeing his ideas reach the finished product gave him immense pride. In 1993 he eventually created a design studio.

David was always keen to embrace new technology and in 2000 made a £1.1 m investment with a toughening plant, ancillary equipment and a factory extension – the third extension since moving into the building in 1981.

The business continued to grow and expand into the architectural glass business it is today; becoming one of the leading players in the market.

Peterlee Glass’s products can be seen in the MetroCentre, British Museum, Sage Gateshead, Bowes Museum and many locations throughout the UK, Ireland and beyond.

“My dad never lost the pride of his creations,” added Graeme.

David suffered a brain haemorrhage and stroke in 2004, and was forced to take a back seat, but the business he created continued to thrive. In late December 2015, the businessman suffered another setback with his health and did not recover. His funeral will be held this week.