News & Analysis

FC Lane founder Fred Lane dies aged 92

13th February 2024
Mick Elliott

Fred Lane, the founder of FC Lane Electronics has died aged 92. He was a key figure and inspirational leader within the Electronics Distribution Industry for nearly 60 years.

FC Lane is a private, family-owned company that has been in existence for over 50 years and is still prospering, a rare commodity, especially in the rapidly evolving environment that is today’s world of electronics.

Industry elders may recall 1966, the year that Fred Lane established his company. The highlight of the year in the UK was an England World Cup victory – particularly appropriate for Fred Lane, since his off-duty passion has always been football. He was a topflight Sussex referee and in 1969, Fred Lane had the honour to be one of the officials at the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Leicester City, Manchester City won 1 – 0.

Fred Lane was by no means new to the electronics industry when he established FC Lane Electronics. At the time he was running a division of a sizeable electronic components business dealing in a variety of device types and selling across the UK as well as to several overseas markets.

However, one of the primary reasons why FC Lane has been so successful for so long was Fred Lane’s decision from the outset to specialise in just one type of component - the connector.

Time has shown this to be a wise decision as connectors are an essential part of almost every electronic product or system ever manufactured. As the electronics industry rapidly evolved throughout the decades that followed, the connector industry developed newer, more sophisticated, and smaller products to keep pace with and help the industry’s development process.

From day one, Fred Lane ensured his company remained at the forefront of interconnection technology.

Starting life in outbuildings behind a public house provided few clues to how they would develop into the multi-million-pound operation it is today. But, as any good businessman knows, careful planning from day one allows a business to spend valuable resources on the right things – people and product.

This is a philosophy that Fred Lane has followed throughout his company’s 50+ years and which today sees FC Lane Electronics employ 70 people with a finished product and parts inventory level approaching £9 million.

The company quickly expanded into premises in the centre of Horsham in a building due for short-term redevelopment before finding its eventual home - Slinfold Lodge. Combining traditional office environments with modern assembly and test facilities, Slinfold Lodge itself, is an imposing country house set in its own grounds and is surrounded by a golf course.

Jack Taylor, the 1974 World Cup final referee, and good friend of Fred Lane, cut the ribbon at the offical opening of Slinfold Lodge.

Slinfold Lodge remains to this day the headquarters for FC Lane Electronics and the connector manufacturer Weald Electronics, which together make up Fred Lane’s Lodge Group and fitting legacy.

He will be greatly missed by the directors and all staff at FC Lane Electronics, Lane Motorsport and Weald Electronics, the group of companies he led. All at FC Lane Electronics extend their deepest sympathy to his wife and family at this sad time.

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