One of the most significant people in the recent history of Basingstoke industry has to be Sir Emmanuel Kaye, one of the founders of Lansing Bagnall Ltd.

His factory covered a large area on the Houndsmills Estate in Kingsclere Road during the 20th Century and at its peak, employed up to 3,000 people.

Emmanuel started life in Russia, born on November 29, 1914. His father Zelman, who died in 1928, was a wheat merchant while his mother Chassia was a botanist. When he was 20, Chassia changed the family name from Kagarlitzky to Kaye and Emmanuel confirmed this by naturalisation in 1953.

After being educated at Richmond Hill School, he joined an engineering firm at Mortlake and studied engineering at evening classes at Twickenham Technical College. At the age of 32, he married Elizabeth Cutler and they had a son and two daughters.

In 1940, he joined forces with John Sharp and set up their own engineering firm called J.E. Shay and secured contracts with large companies including Ford. Three years later, they bought a failing company called Lansing Bagnall & Co in Isleworth, relaunching it as Lansing Bagnall Ltd. This was destined to become one of the largest companies in Basingstoke with a land space of 100,000sq ft. It quickly became one of the leading forklift truck companies in the world.

Emmanuel was awarded a CBE in 1967 and received the Knight Bachelor award in 1974. He later formed Kaye Enterprises Ltd, which supported young entrepreneurs in ventures such as computer software and retirement homes.

He was a member of the Confederation of British Industry and on the Reviewing Committee of the Export of Works of Art and trustee of the Glyndebourne Opera. Prior to the general election of 1997, Sir Emmanuel was believed to have been a donor to Tony Blair’s Labour Party and was an associate of the Labour Friends of Israel organisation. He became Chairman of the Thrombosis Research Trust.

He lived at Hartley Place in Hartley Wintney and died in February 1999. He was interred at Willesden United Synagogue.