Death at 65 of popular Penrith car dealership boss

Date: Tuesday 4th June 2019

A WELL respected former managing director of a Penrith car dealership has died, aged 65.

Stephen Fleming, of Plumpton, was managing director of Armstrong and Fleming from 1986 to 2007.

Born in Carlisle on Coronation Day, 2nd June, 1953, he was the son of Geoffrey and Kathleen. He had a twin brother, George Philip, who sadly died at the age of eight months, and two sisters, Margaret and Joan.

The family lived at Holme Riggs, Penrith, for the first 10 years of his life before moving to Halin, Watermillock. There he developed a keen appreciation of the outdoors, enjoying all-night fishing, lake swimming, fell walking, and getting up to mischief, as young boys do, especially playing music by The Who and the Beatles at full blast across Ullswater while his mother and father were out.

He attended County Boys’ School and Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School before starting work in the family business, Armstrong and Fleming, in King Street, which had been established in 1919 by his grandfather, Stephen Fleming, and Fred Armstrong (owner of the George Hotel).

He joined the business in 1970 as an apprentice mechanic and became service manager in 1973 following a three-year course at the Bolton Institute of Technology.

He also became a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry and an associate member of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers, which enabled him to take over from his father, the late Geoffrey Fleming, as managing director in 1986. On 30th August, 1975, he married Susan, and their first married home together was in a flat above the garage. The couple had four children, Sabrina, Mark, Paul and Stuart, who later gave them 11 grandchildren which Stephen idolised.

In the early 1980s the company moved into premises at Roper Street where Mr Fleming oversaw many changes to the site, not only in the development of the company, including computerisation, but also physical changes including the development of a used car display area.

The garage was his passion from day one. The loyalty of his hardworking staff was always appreciated and never forgotten.

He loved to travel the world and was fortunate to travel with Susan many times as a result of the garage’s achievements with manufacturer Renault.

He was proud to be northern area chairman of Renault main dealers and later became national chairman of the Renault Dealers Association. Becoming president of Penrith Rotary Club was also a proud personal achievement.

He remained passionate about his garden until the end and his sons will make sure it is maintained in his memory.

Stephen is survived by his wife, Susan; children Sabrina, Mark, Paul and Stuart; grandchildren Asha, MacKenzie, Taylor, Mason, Jaiden, Kaylan, Oliver, Jacob, Chloe, Imogen and Mollie; and sisters Margaret and Joan.