04 December 2012

Obituary: David Hart OBE

David Hart OBE

A memorial service for David Hart OBE will be held this week.

Mr Hart, who died on Sunday 28 October, made a huge contribution to the development of the University - providing vital support during its early years and serving on Council for more than two decades.

An Honorary Doctorate was presented to Mr Hart in 1995 for his services to the University, business and the local community. In June 1994 he was awarded an OBE for public service with the citation particularly mentioning his work for the University.

Eddie Newcomb OBE, Registrar and Secretary from 1981 to1992, said: “David was a man of complete integrity, always supportive of the University and its officers even in the most difficult times and an impeccable judge of character. He was a continual source of wisdom over many years and throughout was sustained by a long and happy marriage to Moyra.

“Apart from Moyra, I suspect I may know better than anyone just how much he gave to Essex from the very start. He was selfless in the extreme and the University is greatly in his debt. He was an exceptional man.”

The memorial service will be held at St Mary’s Church in Dedham at 2pm on Friday 14 December.

Mr Hart was closely involved in the life of the University from its establishment under our first Vice-Chancellor Sir Albert Sloman.

When Sir Albert asked for practical support from the local business community, Mr Hart immediately offered the use of two offices. He also helped raise a considerable amount of money for the University Appeal Fund. After this he went on to become a member of Court and then Chairman of the Chemistry Building Sub-Committee.

He played a key role within Council and was Vice-Chairman for 12 years. For 13 years he served as Chairman of the Development Committee. In 1989 he was appointed a Pro-Chancellor and was Treasurer from 1988 to 1994.

Outside the University, he enjoyed a distinguished business career while being incredibly active in charity work and the cultural life of the area.

His first appointment was with Moler Products in Colchester and within 12 years he was the company's Managing Director. He merged the company with Marshalls and become Director and then Chairman of the new firm. Before he retired he agreed a successful merger with Hepworth.

In 1961, he was appointed a General Commissioner of Income Tax and he was Chairman of the Colchester Division from 1985. Other roles include Chairman of the Colchester and District Industries Association, Governor of the Colchester Institute, Director of the Eastern Regional Board of British Telecommunications, Chairman of the National Assistance Appeal Tribunal, Colchester Area, Trustee of the Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum and of Winsley's Charity. He was trustee of the Colchester New Theatre Trust and Director of Colchester Mercury Theatre Limited from 1972 to 1981.

He played a key role in the development of the Colchester Oaks Hospital and was a Director from 1963 and then Chairman. Following the sale of the former Colchester Oaks Hospital, he was founder Chairman of Colchester Catalyst. The charity devotes income from the invested funds of that sale to supporting the many caring organisations working for the relief of the sick or suffering in North East Essex. Colchester Catalyst particularly seeks to help caring groups that provide services to people with medical conditions or disabilities living in north east Essex.

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