18th December 2023

Obituary: James Williams

A final ‘one for the roadie’ with one of Trading Standards’ best loved and most popular characters.


By Giles Speid
Team Manager, North West Westminster
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James never took himself too seriously, whilst appreciating the seriousness of the work that he was doing

When we talk about sons and daughters of Trading Standards, James Williams definitely epitomises that saying. He was a son of Trading Standards through and through.

James never took himself too seriously, whilst appreciating the seriousness of the work that he was doing. Before James joined Westminster Trading Standards he was with West Sussex Trading Standards, where he is still missed and some of his efforts became the stuff of folklore. Some of his former colleagues’ comments reflect this.

While at West Sussex, James would spend the day driving down the muddiest lanes and the muddiest hills trying to get his shiny white Land Rover caked in as much mud and cow slurry as possible.

Once when James was suffering with a hangover, his manager sent someone from the office to go to his home and drag him in. She clearly remembers James answering the door looking rough and sporting a pair of huge, fluffy-dog slippers.

For fun, James drove the Trading Standards’ Mini Metro up a steep muddy farm track, full of bravado, but got stuck and had to be towed back down by a tractor — something he repeated many times.

James Williams (2 November 1967 – 28 October 2023)

He got up to similar antics at Westminster Trading Standards but nothing that I can commit to print.

James was the smartest dressed person at Westminster. He was always immaculately turned out and never had a hair out of place.

For someone so dapper and good looking, it would have been easy for James to have been big-headed and cocky, but he was neither of those things. He just took immense pride in how he looked. Now it’s fair to say that James didn’t love everyone… but he loved as many as he could.

Whenever we were out on counterfeiting raids, if we came across a new brand that we were not sure about, we would look to James to guide us.

James ran Westminster’s underage test purchase programmes and brought to court a number of household names that fell foul of this legislation.

James also sat on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Digital Regulation and Responsibility and was instrumental in advising a number of blue chip Primary Authority companies.

Whilst coming back from a period of sick leave, James was the Lead Officer in a Crown Court trial that had serious legal and financial implications for us. In the lead-up to the trial he didn’t get a chance to be prepped for his appearance at Blackfriars Court. His first day back was the first day of the trial. We needn’t have worried. When James gave his evidence in the witness box he was both calm and reassuring. The offender received a custodial sentence, following the guilty verdict.

James was known for holding his own on the dance floor, something I witnessed several times on nights out. Always willing to be the mischievous one, he turned up in a Christmas suit of snowmen, candy canes and decorations for our Christmas meal one year.

James was best friends with everyone and did the things that best friends do – socialised (regularly), drank together (occasionally too much), and laughed together (always).

James was up for every suggestion. He fished, played golf and football, ran for charities, and together with Westminster colleagues and friends climbed mountains in the Lake District.

James was known for ensuring that at the end of the evening he would always offer a ‘one for the roadie?’ — a promise of a swift drink before the train home. Accepting that meant sealing your fate for the remainder of the evening. Mind you, it would always be an evening of laughter, jokes and non-contentious banter.

James is survived by his mother, brother and two daughters.

One response to “Obituary: James Williams”

  1. geoffrey price says:

    RIP. Sounds like he lived life to the full. First class bloke.

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