Machine Maestro Roger Jarrett of AMS

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Roger Jarrett, on Thursday 16th November 2023, aged 74. A well-known and much respected industry figure, who founded Automatic Machine Services, Roger was also a devoted husband, father, grandfather and a true gentleman who will be much missed by all who knew him.

Roger left school in 1964 aged 15 and rather than join his fathers’ business, ‘Automatic Services’, he joined a larger London based firm J.C.W. Automatics as an apprentice. Upon successfully completing his apprenticeship in 1966 he made the ‘big’ move to join his father at ‘Automatic Services’.

‘Automatic Services’ was established by James Frank Jarrett in 1960 with the support of his wife Edith. The start-up enterprise, supplying what were then known as ‘one-arm bandit’ (gaming) machines, operated out of Frank’s garage/workshop at Old Mill House in Chipstead, Kent and quickly established a reputation for technical expertise and customer service.

As soon as father and son joined forces the business grew: the product line was expanded and many new ideas implemented, included a name change to Automatic Machine Services, specifically requested by Roger, who saw the future vision of the ‘new’ company.

Due to health issues Frank (as he was known) took a step back from the business in 1969. Working alongside his father Roger had seen his drive and was inspired to continue, determined to take Automatic Machine Services to new heights.

In 1973 Roger took on his first full-time employee and by 1977 Automatic Machine Services were ready to move to new premises. Five years later in 1982 Roger relocated the business again to larger premises in West Wickham, Kent, which provided the additional space the expanding business so desperately needed, not only for an expanded workshop, but also for a new showroom.

The 80s saw further growth, driven by Roger’s ambition, with not only direct business expansion but also with the acquisition of ‘Ace Operators’. By the mid 80s Roger’s wife Christine had joined the business to assist with administration and a number of experienced engineers had also been recruited to help meet demand.

In the 1992 Roger’s eldest son Jason joined the business direct from school, as Roger himself had done many years previously. Automatic Machine Services’ second father and son team drove the company forward, necessitating a further move to larger premises in Westerham in 1997.

Roger and Jason proved to be a formidable team with a relentless drive for business growth:
2001 – W&M Automatics were acquired
2004 – Bexley Automatics were acquired
2008 – Charus Automatics were acquired
2010 – 50th Anniversary
2016 – Lakerose Leisure Limited were acquired
2017 – Company moved to purpose built industrial unit in Kemsing, Kent
2020 – 60th anniversary.

Roger spent his working life at the forefront of Automatic Machine Services growing the business from its garage workshop beginnings, to become the leading independent gaming and amusement machine supplier across the South-East of England, supplying hundreds of pubs and clubs across the region.

The scale of Automatic Machine Services’ operations, coupled with their outstanding reputation, attracted the attention of Arrow International in 2021, who negotiated the purchase of AMS with Roger and Jason through their UK operations, Cowells Arrow. The deal was completed early in 2022. With Arrow retaining all staff and the name, Automatic Machine Services. Jason remains part of the senior team.

“Dad was my inspiration for us driving the business forward together and I have so many fond memories of all the years we have spent working together. He was incredibly proud of how much we achieved and was always making sure we never let our standards drop, as attention to detail was always his focus for a successful business.

“As a family we all miss him hugely and I have been overwhelmed by support from the industry,” Jason Jarrett.

A Funeral Service for Roger Jarrett will take place on:
Friday 15th December 2023, 11.15am at Bluebell Cemetery, Halstead, Sevenoaks, Kent TN14 7AE.
The service will be followed by a reception at:
Dunton Green Social Club, 159 London Road, Dunton Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2TA.

The family have requested no flowers and have suggested donations instead, in Roger’s memory, to the Hospice in the Weald, a registered charity that provides care completely free of charge to patients with a terminal illness and those important to them. Registered Charity No.280276
Hospice in the Weald W: