Francis Dalton, managing director of A L Dalton Ltd, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness. Regarded as one of the true gentlemen of the woodworking machinery sector, he and his late brother, Nigel, were the third generation to enter the family business in Nottingham.

In 2016 Francis celebrated 60 years with the company, having first worked as a machinist at Stag Cabinets gaining some valuable experience before joining his father, Vernon, and uncle, Cyril, in 1956. Francis quickly took to the business forging what were to become lifelong relationships with customers, partners and competitors.

Although never married, Francis was still very much a family man. He leaves five nieces and nephews. Alex Dalton, son to Nigel and nephew of Francis continues as the fourth generation to run the business today.

As director and joint owner of Daltons Wadkin with involvement in all aspects from sales to service, Francis continued to work full time in the business up until the last few weeks of his life. Like his ancestors before him, he took a special pride in ensuring that the company offered the very best machinery, aftercare and support.

Francis Dalton will be much missed both within Daltons Wadkin and the wider woodworking machinery community.