Leading Burntwood businessman dies aged 76

A leading Burntwood businessman and popular figure in the construction and residential development sectors has died following a short illness.

 Carmel and Noel Sweeney
Carmel and Noel Sweeney

Noel Sweeney was chairman of Tara Developments, which includes Chasetown Civil Engineering, residential property developers Cameron Homes and Galliers Homes and affordable homes specialist Keon Homes.

He was 76 and leaves behind his wife Carmel, four children – Charmaine, Aisling, Blaithin and Sinead – and 12 grandchildren.

Noel and Carmel also had a son, Oisin, who sadly passed away aged 35.

Born in Corrigeen, Ireland, Noel was the second of eight children and grew up on a farm before starting work aged 19. He became manager of a factory in Longford aged 26 and moved to Birmingham in 1972, initially working as an office manager for an international business.

While working in the city, he met an old school friend who was employed on a local building site and, after a weekend working alongside him, Noel’s love of the building industry was born, even if he admitted from the off that he was better with a pen than a shovel.

The family relocated to Chasetown in the summer of 1972, where they have lived ever since, with Noel setting up Chasetown Civil Engineering in 1974 and Cameron Homes.

A practising Roman Catholic, Noel was bestowed the Order of St Gregory in 2019, for his contribution above and beyond the life of the church – one of five papal knighthoods awarded by the Catholic church.

He was an active supporter of a number of charities, helping fund a new centre for the charity Sense in Birmingham and the new Catholic Church in Burntwood. He also supported the English and Irish College in Rome, the education department of Derby County Football Club’s Youth Academy, St Joseph’s Catholic School in Chasetown, Cardinal Griffin School in Cannock and sponsored many local agricultural shows in Ireland.

A sports enthusiast, he was president of Chasetown Football Club, a keen supporter of Burntwood Rugby Club and also kept a number of racehorses in training.

Committed

In a statement the Sweeney family said: “Our family is heartbroken, he was our much-loved husband, dad, father-in-law and papa. Family was very important to him and we are comforted in knowing how much he loved us, especially our mum (Carmel) whom he adored and was often heard quoting was the reason for his success.

“He had a huge heart and was extremely compassionate and committed to his family, to those who worked for him and to the many charities he supported. We are so proud to have been able to call him ours”.

John Crabtree, friend, trustee and chairman of Tara Developments, said: “Everyone is deeply saddened by Noel’s death.

It is a huge loss to us all, he touched every part of the business and was held in such affection. We will miss his all-knowing presence, intuition, wisdom and counsel, charm, passion, enthusiasm and kindness. Noel was a very successful, highly respected business leader; he had a unique way of connecting with people. He brought out the best in people, making everyone feel valued and important; he always had a lot of time for the people he met and took a keen interest in their lives. He was truly a great man.”

Due to impact of coronavirus regulations on all funerals at the current time, the burial will be private. Details of a commemorative mass will be announced when restrictions are lifted in due course.

*Mr Sweeney had stepped in earlier this year to save the annual Birmingham St Patrick’s Day parade and festival in Birmingham's Digbeth before it had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Chasetown Civil Engineering and Birmingham developer Court Collaboration had teamed up to sponsor the event after previous sponsor Kiely Bros was unable to continue providing financial support. Mr Sweeney said at the time that he hoped to see Digbeth turned into “a sea of green” on the day.

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