Obituary - Former RIA Director General, Jeremy Candfield

9 November 2020

It is with sadness that the Railway Industry Association reports that its former Director-General Jeremy Candfield, passed away on Sunday 1 November, following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He had been D-G of RIA between 1998 and 2016.

Darren Caplan, RIA Chief Executive, said, “Jeremy Candfield was my predecessor and led the Railway Industry Association with distinction for 18 years, over a truly transformational period for both RIA and UK rail.

“He was incredibly well known and regarded across the RIA membership and throughout the railway industry. On behalf of Team RIA, our members, and the wider industry, we send our condolences to Jeremy’s family. Jeremy will be sadly missed by all those who knew him.”

Rest in Peace
Jeremy Candfield
28 August 1953 - 1 November 2020

Darren Caplan
Chief Executive, RIA

An Obituary from former RIA Policy Director Peter Loosley can be found below.

Jeremy’s funeral takes place on 16 November at 11.30am, in the Sevenoaks area. Given restrictions on numbers Jeremy’s son Christopher has asked those who would like to attend in person or via stream to let him know at as soon as possible.  Should you wish to make a donation in Jeremy’s memory they are being taken for Parkinson’s UK and Hospice in the Weald, visit the website here.

Jeremy Nicholas Candfield | 28 August 1953 - 1 November 2020

It is with the greatest sadness we report that RIA’s former Director General, Jeremy Candfield, passed away on Sunday 1 November. As many of you will know, Jeremy had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease for several years.

Jeremy joined RIA as Director General in 1998 and relinquished the role in 2016 only when the onset of Parkinson’s was making it impossible for him to continue as he would have dearly wished.

It is impossible to overstate the changes he made to RIA during his 18-year tenure. He transformed it from what had been regarded by many as ‘a gentleman’s club’ with relatively few member companies to the go-to trade association with a membership of over 200. It had also become the established voice of the railway supply chain and was viewed as a vital and integral piece of the post-privatisation rail jigsaw. 

Make no mistake, this was a sea-change in how RIA and the supply chain were perceived in the industry. Jeremy brought RIA to the top table and created the platform essential for RIA to continue to grow and progress. He achieved this transformation through, I believe, three key ingredients:- 

First, a lot of hard work. He hardly ever stopped – not only the usual letters, e-mails, meetings and phone calls but also countless evening functions and overseas trade missions. I should stress here that this would have been impossible without the dedicated constant support and understanding of his wife Uta. 

Second, he identified the key people and organisations with which to engage. And he did so in a firm but collaborative way – rightly gaining their confidence by being straight and open with them and seldom, if ever, resorting to public criticism which he did not view as being terribly productive.  In establishing these strong relationships he ensured the necessary two-way dialogue that raised supply chain communication with Government and key clients to a new and mutually beneficial level.

Third, his scrupulous honesty, integrity and consistency both within and without RIA (there was no duplicitous side to Jeremy). These are qualities that some might view old-fashioned but which perhaps demand greater currency than they enjoy in these very strange and difficult times. 

Colleagues with whom I have been in touch, both ex-RIA and members, have been unanimous in describing Jeremy as an absolute gentleman who will be much missed.  Indeed he was. It was Jeremy who brought me to RIA and he was a constant source of sage advice, particularly in the early days when I was finding my feet. But not only that, he was a good and loyal friend and I remember with affection the occasions we put the world to rights over the odd tincture (or two). Others will recall similar experiences.  I owe him a lot as do the collective RIA membership and the railway industry generally.

Our deepest condolences go to his widow Uta, their children Sophie and Christopher and their respective families. I hope it will be of some comfort to them to know how much Jeremy was both admired and respected by everyone with whom he came into contact. It is just such a terrible shame that, having devoted so much of his substance to his work, he was not granted a longer and more comfortable retirement with his family.

Jeremy’s funeral will take place on 16 November at 11.30am, in the Sevenoaks area. The family would like to welcome all those who would like to come, but given the restrictions on numbers they have asked that people let Jeremy’s son Christopher know at as soon as possible if they would like to either attend in person if numbers permit or follow the service via live stream.

And should you wish to make a donation in Jeremy’s memory they are being taken for Parkinson’s UK and Hospice in the Weald, and may be made via the funeral director – Welham Jones at

We shall all miss Jeremy very much. 

Peter Loosley

Notes to Editors


  1. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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