Christopher Campbell obituary


My good friend Christopher Campbell, who has died aged 87, was a businessman, philanthropist and knowledgeable networker who made many buddies in enterprise, politics, arts and the civil service over his lengthy profession in retail and banking.

The soprano Lucy Crowe, who sang the aria Lascia Ch’io Pianga from Handel’s Rinaldo at his funeral, was one beneficiary of his philanthropy, having been financially supported by him by means of the British Youth Opera. He proudly referred to as her his “protege”, and travelled the world to observe her performances. She in flip sang memorably at his seventieth and eightieth birthday events. Christopher additionally endowed scholarships for younger ladies finding out Stem topics at Sidney Sussex School, Cambridge.

Christopher rose to change into director of Debenhams division retailer chain on the pinnacle of its retail success within the Seventies, having joined the corporate as an inside auditor in 1966. He was subsequently a director of Harvey Nichols, Lotus, Debenhams Finance and Harrods Financial institution, and managing director of Hardy Amies (1978-79), earlier than becoming a member of the boards of the London Bus Firm and the Nationwide Rivers Authority in 1986. He was additionally chairman of British Shipbuilders from 1989, and vice-chair of the British Railways Board from 1994. Christopher was made a CBE in 1993 for companies to the shipbuilding business.

Born in Kenton, Middlesex, to David Campbell, a GP and later physician to Wembley stadium, and Nettie (nee Burgess), a midwife, Christopher was educated at Epsom school in Surrey. He certified as an accountant, and did nationwide service with the Royal Military Pay Corps between 1959 and 1961.

Later in life, as a networker par excellence and lively participant within the lifetime of the Garrick Membership, he typically took buddies to lunch, joined bridge periods or fortunately met new folks on the “frequent” desk. He made meticulous seating preparations for dinner in his Westminster flat: precisely 9 visitors, every allotted a delegated chair for pre-dinner drinks, then subsequent to another person to eat, guaranteeing cross-over conversations. Labour cupboard ministers met his intensive circle within the high echelons of enterprise and the humanities.

A Tory-turned-Labour supporter when Tony Blair grew to become chief, he donated to my ill-fated marketing campaign to change into Labour deputy chief in 2007. He would journey by day-return prepare from London to Neath in Wales to attend my summer season backyard events, perching on his capturing stick, nattily dressed as at all times in a three-piece swimsuit, jousting about his earlier Tory affiliations with daughters of miners, one among whom usually made jars of marmalade for him.

He’s survived by his niece, Sara, and great-nephew, Toby.


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