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Sir Michael Marshall’s extraordinary life in pictures


By Paul Brackley


Family business leader, stalwart charity supporter and a champion of Cambridge, Sir Michael Marshall led an extraordinary life.

Tributes poured in following his death, at 87, on July 27. He was on holiday in Spain with his wife, Lady Sibyl, and friends.

Michael Marshall during his RAF National Service around 1950 (14517257)
Michael Marshall during his RAF National Service around 1950 (14517257)

The son of Sir Arthur Marshall, 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.

Michael Marshall rowing for Jesus College (14517275)
Michael Marshall rowing for Jesus College (14517275)

Sir Michael was the grandson of David Marshall, who founded Marshall of Cambridge, on October 1, 1909, in a stable in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge, which can be seen in this picture, believed to be from the 1950s.

Michael Marshall outside the business's first garage location , Brunswick Gardens in Cambridge, circa 1950s. The business was founded by his grandfather in 1909 (14517261)
Michael Marshall outside the business's first garage location , Brunswick Gardens in Cambridge, circa 1950s. The business was founded by his grandfather in 1909 (14517261)

After joining the family business in 1955, he was appointed managing director of Marshall (Cambridge) Limited, which is now Marshall Motor Group, in 1963.

This image shows him at work in his office in the 1960s.

Michael Marshall in his office at Cambridge around 1960 (14517259)
Michael Marshall in his office at Cambridge around 1960 (14517259)

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

Sir Arthur died on March 16, 2007, having developed the car hire and garage business into a world-leading aerospace engineering company, which he chaired from 1942-89.

Sir Arthur Marshall, Michael Marshall and Robert Marshall - three generations of the family in Jesus Lane, Cambridge (14517279)
Sir Arthur Marshall, Michael Marshall and Robert Marshall - three generations of the family in Jesus Lane, Cambridge (14517279)
Michael Marshall with his father Sir Arthur Marshall at Jesus College, Cambridge (14517281)
Michael Marshall with his father Sir Arthur Marshall at Jesus College, Cambridge (14517281)

The company celebrated its centenary in 2009.

Sir Michael Marshall in 2009, at the start of Marshall's centenary celebrations (14517241)
Sir Michael Marshall in 2009, at the start of Marshall's centenary celebrations (14517241)

Sir Michael's son, Robert Marshall, took over as chief executive of the business in 2011.

Sir Michael Marshall with his son Robert Marshall outside Marshall's headquarters in Cambridge (14517287)
Sir Michael Marshall with his son Robert Marshall outside Marshall's headquarters in Cambridge (14517287)

Sir Michael remained chairman of the business.

Sir Michael Marshall in the Land Systems department in 2013 (14517293)
Sir Michael Marshall in the Land Systems department in 2013 (14517293)
Sir Michael Marshall with Jaguars in 2013 (14517301)
Sir Michael Marshall with Jaguars in 2013 (14517301)

In 2015, Marshall Motor Holdings was floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Marshall Motor Holdings floats on the London Stock Exchange in 2015. Picture: Ben Phillips Photography (14517255)
Marshall Motor Holdings floats on the London Stock Exchange in 2015. Picture: Ben Phillips Photography (14517255)

Sir Michael was a keen supporter of apprentices at Marshall, and helped to ensure Marshall had many loyal employees.

Sir Michael Marshall at Marshall's Apprentice Awards
Sir Michael Marshall at Marshall's Apprentice Awards
Sir Michael Marshall at Marshall's long-service awards (14517289)
Sir Michael Marshall at Marshall's long-service awards (14517289)

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

Michael Marshall with Marilyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, at RIAT 2016 (14517265)
Michael Marshall with Marilyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, at RIAT 2016 (14517265)

Outside of the business, 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.

Michael Marshall with the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire (14517263)
Michael Marshall with the High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire (14517263)

During his life, Sir Michael met many famous people, from the king of Jordan...

Sir Michael Marshall with King Hussein of Jordan at RIAT 1994 (14517249)
Sir Michael Marshall with King Hussein of Jordan at RIAT 1994 (14517249)

...to member of the British royal family..

Michael Marshall with Prince Michael of Kent on April 19, 1995, at the opening of Marshall Car Centre (14517277)
Michael Marshall with Prince Michael of Kent on April 19, 1995, at the opening of Marshall Car Centre (14517277)
The Duke of Edinburgh with Sir Michael Marshall at the inauguration of the Marshall of Cambridge room at the Royal Aeronautical Society in Hamilton Road, London. (14517247)
The Duke of Edinburgh with Sir Michael Marshall at the inauguration of the Marshall of Cambridge room at the Royal Aeronautical Society in Hamilton Road, London. (14517247)
Sir Michael Marshall with the Duke of Kent (14517253)
Sir Michael Marshall with the Duke of Kent (14517253)
Sir Michael Marshall with Prince Philip at the Air League (14517303)
Sir Michael Marshall with Prince Philip at the Air League (14517303)
Michael Marshall with the Queen at Marshall's centenary celebration in 2009 (14517267)
Michael Marshall with the Queen at Marshall's centenary celebration in 2009 (14517267)

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

Michael Marshall being knighted by the Queen in 2010. Picture: Snowbound (14517273)
Michael Marshall being knighted by the Queen in 2010. Picture: Snowbound (14517273)

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

Sir Michael Marshall in an Air Cadets glider around 2010 (14517291)
Sir Michael Marshall in an Air Cadets glider around 2010 (14517291)
Michael Marshall at the Cambridge Flying Group's 60th anniversary (14517269)
Michael Marshall at the Cambridge Flying Group's 60th anniversary (14517269)
Sir Michael Marshall on the 70th anniversary of his first solo flight (14517283)
Sir Michael Marshall on the 70th anniversary of his first solo flight (14517283)
Sir Michael Marshall collects honorary fellowship or Royal Aeronautical Society. (14685903)
Sir Michael Marshall collects honorary fellowship or Royal Aeronautical Society. (14685903)

An event, hosted by Marshall Leasing, was held earlier this year at Marshall Airport to honour his achievements in aviation.

Sir Michael Marshall speaking at Cambridge Airport (14685827)
Sir Michael Marshall speaking at Cambridge Airport (14685827)

Throughout his life, Sir Michael was a keen supporter of charities and good causes.

British Red Cross Cambridgeshire Armistice Centenary Dinner at Trinity College, Cambridge. Libby Thirlwell and Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: David Johnson Photographic. (14685830)
British Red Cross Cambridgeshire Armistice Centenary Dinner at Trinity College, Cambridge. Libby Thirlwell and Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: David Johnson Photographic. (14685830)

He aided the Cambridge Appeal for the British Olympic Association, served on the Prince's Trust fundraising committee and supported The Ely Cathedral Restoration Appeal.

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

Sir Michael Marshall during the visit on July 13, 2016, of the Queen to East Anglian Air Ambulance to open its new HQ, with Prince Phillip and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sir Michael Marshall during the visit on July 13, 2016, of the Queen to East Anglian Air Ambulance to open its new HQ, with Prince Phillip and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William. Picture: Keith Heppell

And he was a keen supporter of the Chariots of Fire charity relay race in Cambridge, 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.

He received an 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. He also received an honorary doctorate from Kingston University.

Sir Michael Marshall receives his honorary doctorate in Kingston in January 2014 (14517271)
Sir Michael Marshall receives his honorary doctorate in Kingston in January 2014 (14517271)

Sir Michael remained involved in the company.

Sir Michael Marshall with apprentices at RIAT 2019 (14517297)
Sir Michael Marshall with apprentices at RIAT 2019 (14517297)
Lord Mayor of London Rt Hon Charles Bowman talking in the Conference Suite at Cambridgee Airport, from left Christopher Walkinshaw, Lord Mayor of London Rt Hon Charles Bowman, Richard Olsen from OlsenMetric and Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685881)
Lord Mayor of London Rt Hon Charles Bowman talking in the Conference Suite at Cambridgee Airport, from left Christopher Walkinshaw, Lord Mayor of London Rt Hon Charles Bowman, Richard Olsen from OlsenMetric and Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685881)

He was present earlier this year when Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group announced its plans to relocate outside of Cambridge, to facilitiate futher growth, by 2030.

Marshall management at the announcement of major changes to the business, from left Richard Howe, Robert Marshall, Sir Michael Marshall, Alex Dorrian, Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685833)
Marshall management at the announcement of major changes to the business, from left Richard Howe, Robert Marshall, Sir Michael Marshall, Alex Dorrian, Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685833)
Marshall management at the announcement of major changes to the business, from left Richard Howe, Alex Dorrian, Sir Michael Marshall, Robert Marshall, and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685849)
Marshall management at the announcement of major changes to the business, from left Richard Howe, Alex Dorrian, Sir Michael Marshall, Robert Marshall, and Alistair McPhee. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14685849)

And, most recently, he was on hand to open the 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)

Sir Michael, a father, stepfather and stepgrandfather, lived in Swaffham Prior with Lady Sibyl.

Sir Michael Marshall at the Womens Land Army Memorial unveiling in Swaffham Prior on May 3, 2014. Picture: Richard Marsham
Sir Michael Marshall at the Womens Land Army Memorial unveiling in Swaffham Prior on May 3, 2014. Picture: Richard Marsham
Michael Marshall with his wife, Sibyl Marshall, in 2009. Picture: Nick Harvey (14518793)
Michael Marshall with his wife, Sibyl Marshall, in 2009. Picture: Nick Harvey (14518793)

The Marshall flag flew at half-mast to mark his death.

Marshall of Cambridge head office flagpole at half mast on the death of Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14524118)
Marshall of Cambridge head office flagpole at half mast on the death of Sir Michael Marshall. Picture: Keith Heppell. (14524118)

A private funeral will be followed by a thanksgiving service, details of which will be announced later this year.

Read more

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

Tributes to Sir Michael Marshall after his death at 87



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