AS one of the North-East’s most successful and colourful entrepreneurs, John Elliott has never been afraid to do things differently.

In many ways, he is a maverick, whether it be in the way he chooses to run his business, or in his often outspoken political beliefs.

As a leading figure in the highly effective “No” campaign when the North-East voted on whether it wanted an elected regional assembly, his forthright, down-to-earth approach resonated with ordinary people.

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And Mr Elliott’s announcement today about his radical plans for the £30m company he has built from scratch is another example of his “I’ll do it my way” approach to life and business.

Instead of passing on the business as an inheritance to his daughters, he will place it in a trust that will donate profits to the community and protect County Durham jobs.

It would have been easy for Mr Elliott to move his manufacturing base to eastern Europe in a costcutting move. Others in his position have done exactly that.

But he is loyal to County Durham and wants dehumidifier manufacturer Ebac to go on employing local people for generations to come.

At a time when the North-East needs every private sector job it can muster, to keep pace with heavy losses in the public sector, it is a generous and enlightened approach.

We thank John Elliott for all he has done for this area, wish him a happy retirement, and look forward to Ebac’s continued success.