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As the heading suggests it is that time of year again already!!!  I can imagine you may be glad it’s here!  What a year it has been, absolutely mental, but that is for another blog, I’ll do a year in review at the end of the year to talk about what we’ve been up to.  This week I would like to talk about Christmas cards.  If you’e one of our wonderful customers reading this and you are wondering where the Christmas card is, I’m very sorry…..  We haven’t done any this year, for various reasons one being cost and the other being Paula working from home and not being around to organise me to choose one, so we decided not to send any this year.  This doesn’t mean that we don’t wish you a merry Christmas and a happy prosperous new year, far from it, I wish it more this year than I think I ever have!   I’m just ashamed to say It’s just another one of those things that we haven’t got around to doing.

So I thought I’d talk about Christmas cards of old and pay a little tribute to a family friend in the process.


When John first started out he used some very nice pencil drawings for Christmas cards, thanking the customers of the year and wishing them a merry Christmas.

A Christmas Card from 1972 which uses John’s parents house as a business address.


One from 1977 which has business Address of Princes Street. Which was a first floor little workshop in Nuneaton and one of the first workshops for JFW Ltd.


In the 70’s John commissioned a graphic design company to produce some letter heads, business cards etc for the business.  That company comprised of 3 guys, one being Noel Ford.  Noel was a cartoonist who was doing some graphic design work as a sideline to his passion of cartoons.  This passion drove him to become an extremely successful artist, producing work for Punch Magazine and Church Times and many other publications.  He also wrote and illustrated children’s books.  Noel was a pioneer in his field in the new digital age, being one of the first remote workers, producing art and sending it around the word to various publications.  So we have been extremely lucky to have this great man a man at the top of his game produce some real special Christmas cards for us!


For a time one the companies biggest source of work was bar fitting.  We still do the odd one now but back in the day they were a major percentage of our work.  Noel’s cartoons reflect this time perfectly with humour and links to traditional Christmas tales.


It is no real secret that John was reluctant to spend money, mainly because he didn’t have any as times were hard, but being such great friends Noel was able to portray this trait perfectly in a jovial way.  I am proud to say that John’s thriftiness has rubbed off on me in some ways……

The Christmas card that was used in 1986, the year I was Born. I think it was an accurate prediction. (I have made a mess of the house and I can’t spell too good.)
Matthew was born one week before Christmas 1987 (Today infact, so Happy Birthday Brother!), so there wasn’t time to do a Christmas card, but this was used to announce his birth.
Used on the 21st anniversary of being in business in 1990.


The company enjoyed great success exporting our product overseas to Scandinavia, the middle east and other countries around the world.  I mention Scandinavia in particular as it is widely believed that Santa Clause comes from Lapland.  Noel used this perfectly to his advantage for a stream of excellent Christmas cards!  The one with dad in the sleigh was always my favourite!


Noel was always at the cutting edge of global developments and was able to make a joke about it in some way.  I do love this one, the thought of elves turning up for a job because Santa doesn’t need them anymore because he is getting it all from Amazon and Ebay, really cracks me up.


I asked Noel if he would produce a Christmas card for our 50th anniversary last year, he agreed and was delighted to be involved.  However it was with great sadness that Noel fell ill and sadly passed away in September of 2019.  A real loss to Church times where he was producing work for right up to the end and of course his work for children’s books.  He leaves behind his wonderful wife Margaret and amazing Daughter Sara.

Noel was a great family friend and I have very fond memories of visiting the Ford household around Christmas time and being amazed at all his computer gear.  He once drew me as James Bond, which made my life!  I still have the picture to this day and cherish it.  I used to look forward to the new Christmas card every year, mainly to colour in a drawing of my dad when I was young but as I got older I understood the jokes and loved every single one of them.   He will be greatly missed and it is such a shame that we didn’t get one last piece of art to add to our long standing wonderful collection.

Go well.


I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  This one has been a tough one, it really has, but I believe we all have the fight in us to move on and make 2021 the best we can!

We’ve got a few more days of mad rush but for now, Stay safe and have one for me!


Tags: Bars, International, JFW Ltd HQ, JFW Process, Point of Sale, Religious Furniture, Uncategorized