Hull computing pioneer Vic Golding remembered in youth enterprise award

An entrepreneur who is credited with introducing Hull to global brands from Amstrad to Take That will be remembered for his lifelong commitment to training with a new award bearing his name.

Vic Golding, who died in November 2023 at the age of 86, supplied many businesses in Hull and East Yorkshire with their first computers. As founder and managing director of Golding Computer Services, which he launched in 1982, he recognised that the hardware was worthless without training in how to use it.

The company went on to win countless awards for excellence from Sage software, from the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB), and from Hull City Council’s Making Changes for Careers (MC4C) project.

Many of the accolades were for the training, delivered by Vic’s colleague Di Garbera, to equip young entrepreneurs and others in business with the vital skills they needed in computerised accounts.

Now MC4C has announced that one of its annual awards will be named after Vic in recognition of his support for young people and for his remarkable business career.

Charles Cracknell, Hull City Council’s youth enterprise and microbusiness manager, said: “Vic was a force of nature committed to supporting young people either as apprentices or entrepreneurs. He would often ask for updates on how they were doing as he felt encouraging them was the key to ensuring their success.

“He was as proud as punch whenever one of the young entrepreneurs supported by MC4C passed their Level 2 book keeping course, and even more so when one former homeless young man won a national award organised by the IAB, which Goldings worked with very closely. It was the first recognition the young man had ever received.

“It was obvious to me that we should recognise Vic’s commitment to Hull and to young people, hence we have decided to honour his service and memory by naming a youth enterprise award after him. We will present it at our annual awards evening during Global Entrepreneurship Week.”

Vic’s first venture into the world of work was in the basement at Hammonds selling irons, hairdryers and other electrical goods after being sent to the department store by the youth employment service. He then joined Priestman Brothers as a trainee management accountant costing the manufacture of cranes, excavators and the other heavy-duty construction equipment coming out of a world-renowned factory.

When he left, it was for other household-name businesses – Smith & Nephew with Elastoplast, Webley & Scott with revolvers and shotguns, Klaxon with Klaxons.

He experienced the downsides of business after a move to Associated Fisheries, which relocated to Scotland, and then local construction giant Spooner Group, which went out of business.

At the Hull and East Riding Co-operative Society Vic was responsible for training staff in readiness for the introduction of VAT and the start of Sunday trading. They worked with punched paper tape, signs of a move towards computerisation for a retail empire which was omnipresent.

Interviewed in 2019, Vic recalled: “I decided to set myself up as a computer consultant, providing local businesses with the same expertise as the blue-chip companies I had worked for and I soon found my clients wanted me to supply the software and hardware I recommended.

“The accreditations we received then from the main computer manufacturers including Apple, ACT Sirius, Sanyo, IBM, Olivetti and Amstrad meant we were very much in the right place at the right time for the birth of the personal computer.

“It was always about training. We were selling the Amstrad packages like hot cakes but at that time most of the businesses in Hull didn’t have any computers at all. Many bought their first machines from us, but they couldn’t use them.”

Goldings partnered with Hull City Council and the Department of Employment, pioneering the use of computers in business, writing manuals and training the staff at hundreds of businesses in the new technology.

Vic also had a flair for marketing. When Take That performed in Hull at Malet Lambert School, Kingston High School and LA’s nightclub back in 1992 they shared the stages with advertising boards from the main sponsor – Golding Computer Services. But Vic never got a photograph of himself with the band – revealing that he turned down the chance of a photo session with Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Gary Barlow, Jason Orange and Howard Donald.

He said: “We spent more than £60,000 on advertising that year so £750 to sponsor Take That wasn’t a massive amount even though they were relatively unknown at the time.
“We’ll never know whether anyone bought a computer because of the sponsorship but we did have a good year. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the show because it finished earlier than I expected. I turned up at LA’s at 9pm and they were just about to leave. They offered to pose for a picture with me, but I didn’t want to delay them so off they went.”