Clive Wren

Managing Director of The Routair Group of Companies from 1978 to c.2002

Managing Director of Central Flying Services from 1970 to c.1986

Born in London during 1935, Clive Wren left school at 16 and went straight into the RAF where he completed his National Service and obtained his pilot’s licence. However, at this time his main passion revolved around motor cars and in 1955 along with his brother Terry, they set up a small working area at the back of their father’s workshop where the two brothers set about making G.R.P. car kit bodies under the name of Convair Developments; Terry dealing with the running of the company, while Clive provided his engineering prowess. Three different models were ultimately produced which included the Excell, the Convair GT and the S-Type which also had a Ford chassis.

Needless to say, it wasn’t long until they expanded the business and started offering other automotive engineering solutions, including Ford chassis modifications for home built race vehicles. Over the years, this company produced around 70 body kits and cars until eventually, they were forced to abandon the company due to some of the larger manufacturers having elbowed their way into this market. Thus it was in 1962 that the two brothers parted company albeit temporarily. However, Clive decided to get back into aviation and despite Clive and Terry having gone on to pursue their own ideas after the collapse of Convair, they reunited once more under the banner of Central Flying Services, a company set up to service and maintain light and small business aircraft.

It was in 1970 that the next incarnation of the company was born, namely Central Flying School and in September of that year their first aircraft arrived. This particular venture had initially started out at Stapleford Aerodrome, but by mid-1971 the brothers had relocated to Southend. Over the next few years the Wren’s would build up both an impressive fleet and a successful business although come 1974, tragedy would sadly strike. On March 16th, Terry was flying between Southend and Basle when the Air Tourer 100 he was flying crashed into the side of a mountain over Champagney, France. Sufficed to say, although this must have come as a shattering loss to Clive, he nevertheless soldiered on and kept the company going until at least 1986.

In the meantime, the Routair name appeared in the form of Routair Aviation Services, an air taxi and charter company which Clive started with partner Nigel Stockwell during 1978, although he would go on to sell his share of this company in 1983 with it later becoming known as Expressflight, which in turn was later sold to Hubbardair in 1986. Other wings of the company included Routair Handling, Routair Travel, Routair Chartered Services and Aviacare, each of which dealt with different aspects of aviation. The handling side of the business was eventually wound up around 1994, while Routair Aviation Services would close in 1996. The rest would continue to operate at least in name only until around the early 2000s. However, during this time Clive had also involved himself in politics becoming a Lib-Dem councillor for Ashingdon and did much work in support of Southend Airport while at the same time attempting to stave off competition from nearby Stansted.

As a person, Clive was an extremely affable and upstanding individual who as the managing director of so many SEN companies, seemed far removed from such positions especially at first sight, being as Clive was rarely seen attired in anything bar his trademark blue boiler suit. In fact, having had the pleasure of working for Clive myself, it was rare to see the top half of him as it always seemed to be lodged inside yet another infernal machine that was in need of his attention. Clive was also more than willing to lend a hand when things got busy and he was often seen loading or unloading aircraft perched upon one of the airport’s fork lift trucks. With his last business being wound up around 2002, he finally went into retirement and sadly on November 2nd 2013, SEN would lose yet another of its most prominent figures with Clive’s passing.

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