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Jacqueline Gold death: Ann Summers founder dies aged 62

Ann Summers founder Jacqueline Gold has died at the age of 62, her family has said.

The businesswoman behind the revolutionary stores died on Thursday evening after seven years of treatment for breast cancer.

A family statement said: “It is with unspeakable sadness that Ann Summers confirm our amazing executive chair Jacqueline Gold CBE passed away yesterday evening with her husband Dan, daughter Scarlett, sister Vanessa, and brother-in-law Nick, by her side.”

“Jacqueline is best-known for founding Ann Summers and leading a business run by women, for women. She was also an activist for women in business, and championed female entrepreneurs with the ambition to better the working environment for women.

“From an internship to Chief Executive Officer in less than 10 years, her determination and commitment to creating a unique retail offering led to the creation of a multi-channel retail chain, consisting of retail stores, direct sales ambassadors, and a fast growing online and third-party business,” the statement continued. “It is her vision and creativity that saw Ann Summers grow from an unknown brand to a British household name and stable of the British high street.

“In recognition of Jacqueline’s significant achievements during her 40-year career, she was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship, women in business and social enterprise.”

It concluded by saying: “Jacqueline’s death comes just two months after the passing of her father, David Gold, the joint-chairman of West Ham United FC. The thoughts and sincere condolences of everyone at Ann Summers are with Jacqueline’s husband Dan, daughter Scarlett, and sister Vanessa at this extremely sad time.”

Her sister Vanessa said: “Jacqueline courageously battled stage four breast cancer for seven years and was an absolute warrior throughout her cancer journey.

Jacqueline Gold, the chief executive of Ann Summers, poses after receiving her Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) medal by Princess Royal, at an Investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on July 12, 2016 (Getty Images)
Jacqueline Gold, the chief executive of Ann Summers, poses after receiving her Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) medal by Princess Royal, at an Investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on July 12, 2016 (Getty Images)

“As a family, we are utterly heartbroken at the loss of our wife, mum, sister, and best friend. In life she was a trailblazer, a visionary, and the most incredible woman, all of which makes this news that much harder to bear.”

She was made an CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship, women in business and social enterprise.

Gold was estimated to be the 16th richest woman in Britain. In 2019, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated her worth to be around £470 million.

As the daughter of businessman David Gold and Beryl Hunt, she has been credited with transforming Ann Summers into a multi-million pound business, with 140 stores operating across the UK, Spain and Ireland, and an annual turnover of £100 million, according to Retail Week.

David died on 4 January at the age of 86 after a short illness. A statement from West Ham read: “It is with deep sadness that West Ham United FC confirm that our beloved Joint-Chairman David Gold passed away on Wednesday morning following a short illness.

“David Gold, 86, died peacefully with his devoted daughters, Jacqueline and Vanessa, and his fiancée Lesley, by his side.”

Additional reporting by PA