CHARLES Brandon Gough, a chartered accountant who took the reins at Yorkshire Water following its poor handling of the 1995 drought which led to reservoirs running dry in what was the county’s worst water shortage for a generation, has died aged 74.
Between September 1995 and January 1996, water was ferried in a convoy of up to 700 tankers making 3,500 daily deliveries from east to west of the county to refill the reservoirs. The emergency measures cost £3m a week. It led to his predecessor being carpeted by the then Environment Secretary and was a public relations disaster which forced the resignation of the then chief executive.
Sir Brandon was born on Merseyside where his father was a representative of the Bank of England in Birmingham and Liverpool. His mother was Irish and encouraged a strong Roman Catholic upbringing, reinforced by Benedictine education at Douai School, instilling a firm faith that influenced his life.
After National Service in the Royal Artillery, he went up to Cambridge from where he graduated in natural science and law. He later achieved an Open University degree in humanities with classical studies.
After university he became a chartered accountant, becoming a partner in Coopers & Lybrand, later part of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Following his retirement from Coopers & Lybrand, Sir Brandon played a leading role in several public bodies and not-for-profit organisations, including Yorkshire Water.
He served on a number of professional bodies, supported Business in the Community and the Prince of Wales’s Business Forum, was chairman of the Common Purpose charity, and a council member of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Trust.
In 2003, he became Chancellor of East Anglia University, and in 2005 was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent. He was also chairman of the trustees of Leeds Castle, a trustee of Canterbury Cathedral and a patron of Rochester Cathedral’s Business Guild.
He was knighted for his public service in 2002.
He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, the former Sarah Smith, their three children and six grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday at 2.30pm.