Peter Marshall

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PETER John Dixon Marshall, who helped raise millions of pounds for charity, and who was a former non-executive director of Yorkshire Post Newspapers, has died aged 78.

As a key fundraiser, he raised nearly £4m over a number of years for particular projects, and for 36 years was the driving force behind the Sir George Martin Trust which was founded by Sir George in 1956. When he died in 1976 Mr Marshall took over the charity’s administration and also ran his 350-acre farm at Copgrove, near Boroughbridge, until it was sold in 1982.

During this time, he also ran his own 400-acre sheep and dairy farm at his home in Ilkley until it was sold in 1981, when he continued to run and won the land.

He also promoted new charitable trusts sponsored by the Sir George Martin Trust, the project being initially known as The Northern Initiative and later renamed The UK Charitable Trusts Initiative.

Through his persuasion the project was very successful, resulting in more than £150m of new money being invested in new charitable trusts. He also formed his own charitable trust in 1989.

He was involved in other charitable projects which were of particular interest to him, including the Roses Trust which takes deprived children to the Hebrides for outdoor activities. He would often accompany them.

Mr Marshall was born in Leeds, the son of Frank Dixon Marshall and his wife Peggy, and was educated at Oundle School, Peterborough and Clare College, Cambridge where he gained a degree in history, although between school and university he did his two years military service.

He was a Second Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Light Infantry 1st Battalion, serving in York and Berlin, and was subsequently a Lieutenant in the Territorials 4th Battalion.

Following Cambridge he joined the family business of Wilkinson and Warburton who were wholesalers based in Leeds, where he served his apprenticeship in all aspects of the company’s work between 1954 and 1956.

He then spent two years as managing director of Jeremiah Rotherham, a similar business based in London, before returning to the family company as merchandise director. Until 1984 he spent the time expanding the company, first moving it from Leeds to Pudsey, and in 1970 floating the group on the Stock Market.

He became joint managing director and, following the death of his father, chairman and managing director.

During these years he also followed his political interests, twice standing for Parliament, in 1959 and 1964, as a Conservative candidate for the then constituency of Batley and Morley.

He was a non–executive director of Yorkshire Post Newspapers during the 1970s and 1980s, and a founder member of Pennine Radio in 1975.

His extensive charitable work began in earnest in about 1985 and for which he was later to become an MBE and later receive the OBE.

He was a trustee of a number of organisations including the Wade Trust, the Craven Trust, Leeds Building Society Charitable Foundation, the Pukar Foundation and Leeds General Infirmary Special Trust, funding a new scanner.

He was also involved with the Friends of Middleton Park, in Leeds, establishment of Castle Howard’s Arboretum, development of facilities at Marrick Priory and improvements to Halifax’s Square Chapel.

He also helped raise sums of between £150,000 and £1m for Bolton Abbey Priory, Fountains Abbey, Bradford Grammar School, Harlow Car Gardens and an Arts Educational School in Tring, Hertfordshire.

He was a founder member of the Salvation Army advisory board in West Yorkshire and chairman for a number of years, also raising funds for them, a member of Nuffield Nursing Home Horsforth Advisory Board, and on the regional committee of the National Trust. He was also a governor of St Anne’s private school for girls in Windermere and a founder chairman of the Sail Training Association.

He was also High Sheriff of West Yorkshire in 1990.

Mr Marshall is survived by his wife Pamela, daughter Kate, son William and three grandchildren.

A memorial service is to be held at St Marys Priory, Bolton Abbey, on August 9, at 11.30am.