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Sir Michael Marshall, of Marshall of Cambridge, dies while on holiday




Sir Michael Marshall has died while on holiday in Spain.

The president of Marshall of Cambridge, who was 87, was away with his wife, Sibyl, and friends.

Sir Michael Marshall, centre, with, from left, Richard Howe, Robert Marshall, Alex Dorrian and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Michael Marshall, centre, with, from left, Richard Howe, Robert Marshall, Alex Dorrian and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sir Michael, who was described as a “dynamic force for good”, was one of Cambridge’s most popular business leaders and remained active in both community events and charitable activities.

In a statement, Marshall of Cambridge said: “On behalf of his family and Marshall of Cambridge, it is with the deepest regret that we confirm the sad news of the death of Sir Michael Marshall CBE DL. Sir Michael died on Saturday evening, while on holiday in Spain with his wife, Sibyl, and friends.

“While it is too soon to confirm any arrangements, it is anticipated that there will be a small, private funeral followed by a memorial service later in the year, details of which will be announced when they have been fixed.”

Sir Michael was the grandson of David Marshall, who founded Marshall of Cambridge, on October 1, 1909, in a stable in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge.

His father was Sir Arthur Marshall (December 4, 1903-March 16, 2007), who developed the car hire and garage business into a world-leading aerospace engineering company, which he chaired from 1942-89.

Under Sir Michael’s leadership, Marshall has enjoyed enormous success, with Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group growing impressively, prompting the announcement earlier this year that it was planning to leave Cambridge for a new site by 2030.

Meanwhile, the motor group was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015 and has since, through acquisition, become a leader in its field.

Initially educated in Canada, he attended St Faith's School, Cambridge, and Eton College before completing national service as a pilot in the Royal Air Force between 1950 and 1952.

He went on to read history at Jesus College at the University of Cambridge, earning his rowing blue.

Sir Michael Marshall at the Chariots of Fire charity relay race, which he supported every year. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Michael Marshall at the Chariots of Fire charity relay race, which he supported every year. Picture: Keith Heppell

He stroked for the Cambridge University crew in 1954 and for his country in the European Championships in 1955. He also served as chairman of the Cambridge '99 Rowing Club.

He joined the family business in 1955 and in 1963 was appointed managing director of Marshall (Cambridge) Limited, which is now Marshall Motor Group.

He became deputy chairman of the Marshall Group of companiesin 1965, before becoming group chairman - only the third in the company's history - and chief executive in 1989.

His son, Robert Marshall, took over as chief executive in 2011.

In 2016, he became president of the company, representing Marshall at major events, and relinquished the chairmanship to deputy chairman Alex Dorrian.

Earlier this month, he cut the ribbon on Marshall's new customer service centre at Cambridge Airport.

Sir Michael Marshall, Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat and Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem at the opening of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's new customer service centre. Picture by Chris Radburn/Fixed Point Media (14082388)
Sir Michael Marshall, Air Chief Marshal Masihuzzaman Serniabat and Her Excellency Saida Muna Tasneem at the opening of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group's new customer service centre. Picture by Chris Radburn/Fixed Point Media (14082388)

Daksh Gupta, group CEO of Marshall Motor Holdings, told the Cambridge Independent: “Sir Michael was instrumental in my recruitment in 2008. I was privileged to serve on his board for eight years prior to the IPO of the motor group in 2015.

“He was always very proud of the motor group - he even ran it for 40 years. His personal values towards customer service and people are ingrained in our business today. He was always very encouraging and supportive.

“We have lost a great man and we are all very sad today. Our sincere condolences are with Lady Marshall and the whole family.”

Outside of the company, Sir Michael served as high sheriff of Cambridgeshire in 1988 and, from 1989, he served as deputy lieutenant of the county, including a spell as vice lord-lieutenant from 1992 to 2006.

He served as a director of the Eastern Electricity Board and of the BL Cars Distributor Council.

His positions included vice-president of the Institute of the Motor Industry and he was vice-president of the Engineering Employers Federation from 1993-2003.

He served on the Air Cadet Council and was president of The Air League from 2004-9.

Sir Michael was also known for his voluntary and charitable work.

He was involved with the Cambridge Appeal for the British Olympic Association, the Prince's Trust fundraising committee and The Ely Cathedral Restoration Appeal.

Sir Michael Marshall with Libby Thirlwell at the British Red Cross Cambridgeshire Armistice Centenary Dinner at Trinity College, Cambridge. Picture: David Johnson Photographic
Sir Michael Marshall with Libby Thirlwell at the British Red Cross Cambridgeshire Armistice Centenary Dinner at Trinity College, Cambridge. Picture: David Johnson Photographic

He served as president of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, was chairman of the Court of Benefactors of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, the Honorary Air Commodore of Number 2623 (East Anglian) Squadron Royal Auxilliary Air Force Regiment and was a member of the Council of The Prince’s Charities.

In 1999, he was made a CBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours, before being honoured with a knighthood in the 2010 New Year's Honours.

Sir Michael remained a supporter of the annual charitable Chariots of Fire relay race, which was named after the 1981 Oscar-winning film about the British team at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, for which has father had tried out.

A citation for his honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University, where he was also made an honorary visiting professor in 2009 and honorary doctor of the university in 2001, read: “Michael Marshall is a dynamic force for good in the business and social life of this city of Cambridge and the county of Cambridgeshire, a veritable mover and shaker of the life force of this community whose businesses in road and air transport are crucial to the national economy and whose benevolent behaviour reaches into every corner of the community.”

Read more

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Sir Michael Marshall’s extraordinary life in pictures




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