Obituary: Clive Roffe

Businessman who fought for Jewish burial of medieval bones


Property developer Clive Roffe, who has died aged 87, was a man of mixed fortunes. He ran his commercial property business from an office in Beccles, Suffolk until his final illness.

He bought a gold mine in Russia and he travelled to the Arctic Circle and Uzbekistan. A strong supporter of the state of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel, he went to Israel shortly after the Six Day War and, according to family legend, was a Mossad agent.

Roffe played a key role in the story of medieval bones discovered in 2004 during the construction of a shopping centre in Norwich.

He insisted they should be reburied in the Norwich Jewish Cemetery. Just weeks before he died, DNA science vindicated his insistence on the remains’ Jewish origin and the importance of reburying them as it indicated they were of 17 Ashkenazi Jews killed by mediaeval Christians.

The second son of Nettie Roffe née Levy and Phillip Roffe, the young Clive and his brother Malcolm grew up in Brighton. Roffe embarked on a commercial and business career and was soon prospering in the cloth and fabric trade.

CBR Fabrics, Shanklin Dyeing had factories in Brighton, Bradford and London. When he was 30 he launched a public company called Jersey Mills.

Roffe was a long-serving Lavender Hill magistrate and played table tennis to international standards.

He became a Lloyds underwriter and in 1999 was installed as Master of the Worshipful Company of Upholders in the City of London at the Bevis Marks Synagogue.

Roffe married the model Jackie Branston in 1965, and they had two daughters, Danielle and Natasha.

Sailing was another interest, and family life was peppered with extensive seder nights and parties.

Roffe married for a second time to Michelle Nadler in 2000 becoming a stepfather to Kate and Matthew.

He served as President of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation and Representative to the Board of Deputies.

When he and Michelle divorced in 2017, he embraced a spiritual life-style. He is survived
by his daughters and grandsons .

Clive Roffe: born June 4, 1935. Died December 26, 2022

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